Title & Author: Psychic Boy Samual (Book 1: Birth of a Hero), Beau Breems
Genre & Publication Date: Fantasy – Graphic Novel, June 10, 2015
Book Description: “In a world of swords and sorcery lies the verdant land of Varien, home to a young boy named Samuel who is about to discover he has an extraordinary gift – the power of Psychokinesis! (Y’know, the ability to move things with his mind and stuff.) However, Samuel’s newfound abilities will soon be put to the test as he is swept into an adventure to save his homeland from an evil army known as the Cobras! But don’t worry, he’s not alone; With a colorful group of friends that include dragons, werewolves, magical girls, and crazy chickens, he’ll have more help than he can handle!”
First Line: The little town of Greenwood: home to a kind & simple people, content to pass their days in peace.
My Take: This book was provided to me by the author for review.
I really enjoyed this book. Great illustrations by a clearly talented hand! The drawings brought to mind anime cartoons. I was at first a little bummed that it was in black and white (due to a personal preference) but the author took great pains to use light and dark for contrast. This really brought clarity and detail to the scenes and I quickly forgot that it was without color.
As for the story, it’s golden. Lighthearted and fun, it doesn’t forget to integrate more serious moments to allow characters to grow and develop. Things get moving quickly and are never bogged down by a lot of sitting around “thinking”. When it needs to convey a longer passage of time, a narrator box is used to transition smoothly from one period to the next. And the book never skimps on illustration during these. Every brick, street, and stall of Samuel’s town is depicted in impressive detail to really immerse the reader in this world. Every character has a distinct face and behavior. No corner cutting here!
At the end of each chapter there’s a chapter wrap-up page that reminds me of a video game summary display. It’s a creative way to sum up the new characters, places, and sometimes powers, that came up in the last sequence.
An important call out: I really, really appreciate that while there’s a bit of a cliffhanger at the end with hints at dangers to come, the book contained a complete story with enough resolution to satisfy. I’ve often noticed that many books in a series neglect the denouement at the conclusion, thinking a very painful “To Be Continued” will serve to propel readers to the next installment. In my opinion, such a strategy could backfire. A wise adage I’ve heard is that the beginning of a story sells the current book but the ending of it sells the next book. In other words, leave ’em curious, not irritated. In the case of this book, the ending was well executed. *applauds*
The Magical: I really liked the length of the book. Other graphic novels I’ve read, though good, always seemed a bit short. This one is 200+ pages long, all written and illustrated by the same author. Even though it’s a full length novel, the pages at the end have the same quality and attention to detail as the first. That is an amazing accomplishment!
Also, I just love that damn chicken. Who knew poultry could be so hilarious??
The Mundane: I wish Sarah and Samuel would’ve met in some other way than the “damsel-in-distress” scenario. She’s a strong, intelligent character who deserves more than the cliche as an introduction.
Summary of Thoughts: This book is currently $15.00 for the paperback, a great price for a book length graphic novel. Campy without being cheesy (well, there’s a little cheese, but it’s heartwarming), this was a fun read. Loved the journey. It manages to get the band of heroes together while not stalling things by dumping too much backstory. There’s momentum and action aplenty, and the writing and images keep moving the story forward. For those with kids, the language, illustrations, and themes make it a great read for any age group. Recommended!
Many thanks to author Beau Breems for providing a copy of the book to review!
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Want to know more about the author and his work? Explore his website here