Title & Author: Grasspeople, Allan Linder
Genre & Publication Date: Graphic Novel–Fantasy, Summer 2015
Book Description: “Monk is the son of an alchemist and the archivist of
his people’s history. On his thirteenth birthday following the tradition
of his people, Monk sets off on an inner journey to find himself on the
way to becoming a man. Along his spiritual odyssey, he discovers his worst
nightmares that challenge his inner strength. Using the knowledge of his
people that was passed down through generations, he learns who he really
is, but at great personal sacrifice.”
First Line: The morning dew clings to the lush green grass that spreads out to the horizon.
My Take: This book was provided to me by the author for review.
The trick to the graphic novel, as opposed to text-only novels, is to either show OR tell, but never both. The idea is to have the two elements compliment one another; the story couldn’t stand up with images alone, just as the text wouldn’t be enough without the images. Done correctly, what’s seen sparks the imagination while the text moves the reader through the story. The author/artist (who are the same creator in this case) did a wonderful job executing that task.
Just as the title indicates, the story is centered around miniature people living down amid the grasses where the green blades tower over them and their homes. Monk, the main character, is a young man about to leave his family to go on a quest, though reluctantly and with some grumbling doubt as to the need for it. Little does he know dangers are all around.
First off, the illustrations are beautiful, with earthy tones both subtle and vibrant. The detail is also impressive. Monk’s mushroom house had all the trappings of an occupied home: tools, decorations, even some clutter, but with a sense of hearth and comfort. Seriously, I wanted to move in there.
The story is engaging as well. I appreciated that Monk wasn’t gung ho for the quest, like so many other stories. It’s his birthday and all he’d really like is some cake, presents and a day off from chores, like anyone his age would (heck, even anyone MY age). When he does go, trouble follows. The action is compelling.
The Magical: Landscapes and beings are crafted with expression and emotion. The art on these full color pages pulls one into this world. In much the same way an exhibit grabs my attention, I stared at each page, soaking in every detail, before moving on.
The Mundane: Unlike comics with 8-10 panels of story per page, this graphic novel often has one panel per page. Since these are clearly hand drawn with care and intention, that’s understandable, but when I reached the end I wished there was a bit more story. This didn’t diminish the experience though.
Summary of Thoughts: I’m hoping for a good chunk of story in the next installment as things are nicely set up in this first one. Definitely interested in finding out what happens next, as well as seeing it. The creator has a talent for story telling as well as for artistic rendering to visually convey the tale…I almost feel guilty for mowing my lawn last weekend!
Many thanks to Allan Linder for providing a copy of the novel to review.
The learn more about the artist and author, visit his page here
To find out about other projects he’s working on, have a look here