Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Review: Last Man: The Stranger by Bastien Vives, Michael Sanlaville, and Balak

Last Man: The Stranger by Bastien Vives, Michael Sanlaville, and Balak
Publisher: First Second Books
Release Date: March 31st, 2015
The Games are already underway when Richard Aldana arrives in town. This mysterious stranger seems to have more in common with our world than the world where the Games are held. He smokes cigarettes and wears a leather jacket while everyone else in this medieval realm is casting spells and weaving tapestries. Nobody knows what to make of him, but when Aldana enrolls in the games he quickly becomes a top contender. Eschewing magic and using only his martial arts prowess, Aldana also befriends and protects a small boy for reasons as mysterious as his origins.

Who will win the games? Who is Richard Aldana, really? And what is the ultimate purpose of this gruelling gladiatorial contest?

With its intricate fantasy setting and heart-pounding action sequences, Last Man has become the smash hit comics series in France. Combining compelling character-driven storytelling with fast-paced adventure, Last Man is an addictive series with a cliffhanger at the end of each volume that leaves readers panting for more.
"This is definitely an action graphic novel, and the story translates well throughout the book."

Disclaimer: I received a copy for review from the publisher. This doesn't affect my review in any way, nor am I being compensated for this.

Originally, I wasn't really interested in this book. It sounded interesting, but it wasn't really something I thought I would like. But one day, I received the book in the mail and decided to give it a try. I'm so glad I did!

The Stranger is fast-paced and action-packed. There are a few plots happening at once, but they connect and intertwine quickly. This is definitely an action graphic novel, and the story translates well throughout the book. The setting is very well done, and it's definitely an interesting one. What's even more interesting is seeing Aldana in the setting he's obviously not used to. It's exactly what I imagine it would be like if someone such as myself were suddenly plopped down in a foreign country with a very different culture.

However, for all the questions surrounding Aldana, we get very few answers. Perhaps that's the point, especially seeing how there are two other books to come. But I was hoping to learn more about Aldana and how/why he was there in the first place. I wonder about his motives and about his past. I thought it'd be explored much more, but it really wasn't.

Other characters also felt very loosely fleshed out, with me wanting to know more about them, their motives, and their history. While not all of it is needed, nor does it need to be in great detail, it felt very much as if I was being plopped down in the middle of a story rather than at a good starting point, if that makes sense. I also would have liked to see more development of Adrian's character, but I can see that happening more in the next book.

But the one character I found to be extremely well done is Adrian's mother. She stood up for her son and took no sh*t from anyone, no matter who they were, how powerful they were, or what they said they could do for her and her son. She stood her ground, and she was subtly fierce. While we don't learn much about her, I really enjoyed her character, and I really liked how she wasn't thrown in there. While there weren't many females in the book and the one other prominent female is treated badly by her male "companions," I'll say, Adrian's mother really stood out above the rest of the cast for me.

Overall, the book surprised me but in a good way. I enjoyed the pacing, the plot, and the characters. I'm excited to read more and get to explore the world and the story much more. Maybe I should try to expand my reach more from now on!
Last Man: The Stranger: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

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