Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Review: Yvain: The Knight of the Lion

Title: Yvain: The Knight of the Lion 
Author: M.T. Anderson  
Illustrator: Andrea Offermann
Publication Date: March 14th, 2017
Publisher: Candlewick Press   
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Age Group: Teens
Genre: Historical Fantasy 

Eager for glory and heedless of others, Sir Yvain sets out from King Arthur’s court and defeats a local lord in battle, unknowingly intertwining his future with the lives of two compelling women: Lady Laudine, the beautiful widow of the fallen lord, and her sly maid Lunette. In a stunning visual interpretation of a 12th century epic poem by Chrétien de Troyes, readers are — at first glance — transported into a classic Arthurian romance complete with errant knights, plundering giants, and fire-breathing dragons. A closer look, however, reveals a world rich with unspoken emotion. Striking, evocative art by Andrea Offermann sheds light upon the inner lives of medieval women and the consequences Yvain’s oblivious actions have upon Laudine and Lunette. Renowned author M. T. Anderson embraces a new form with a sophisticated graphic novel that challenges Yvain’s role as hero, delves into the honesty and anguish of love, and asks just how fundamentally the true self can really change.

I have to admit that this graphic novel turned out to be totally different from what I was expecting. I have just begun to  immerse myself into the world of graphic novels and so I am not well versed. I do have to admit that I have not read anything by M. T. Anderson, but I was excited to see what readers were hyping on about. 

I think one of the first things that really struck me when reading this novel was the artwork. The style is not one I have seen much of in graphic novels, which can be a good thing. Although at first I wasn't sure how I felt about it but as I went deeper and deeper in the story I began to appreciate the style a lot more. When looking at graphic novels, there is so much more we must look at besides just the scenes in each frame and the dialogue. Every frame was placed on a page for a reason and the artistic style fed to the readers emotions. Did Offerman give the storyline with her style. 

Why yes, yes she did. This is just one example of how through her specific styles she is really able to capture pain and sorrow and provide enough imagery for the reader to feel just that. 

I think one upset with the novel was that I had a hard time with the characters. Maybe this is a time period thing, but I found it hard that Sir Gawain would be fighting for the crueler of the two sisters. Maybe it is that whole 'we are attracted to the bad [girl]' but I found myself wanting to slap him. And I think a lot of times I wanted a little bit more of a complex character that could be more appealing to teens but I do not know if the goal was to also appeal to a younger audience as well. Is this the character development of graphic novels? I hope not. However, if this is a time period thing, than people just weren't that smart. 

Overall, this was an enjoyable read. Will I be running to read another M.T. Anderson, I haven't decided. I am always open for suggestions. I am glad that this was a graphic novel more so than a typical novel. The images won me over and allowed me to visually and emotionally connect with the characters. If you are looking for a graphic novel with a simplistic story but out of this world imagery, don't pass this up. 

I give this book 4 souls! 

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