Publisher: First Second
Release Date: July 14th, 2015
Mark's out of the military, these days, with his boring, safe civilian job doing explosives consulting. But you never really get away from war. So it feels inevitable when his old army buddy Jason comes calling, with a lucrative military contract for a mining job in an obscure South-East Asian country called Quanlom. They'll have to operate under the radar--Quanlom is being torn apart by civil war, and the US military isn't strictly supposed to be there.Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the publisher to review. This did not affect my review in any way, nor am I being compensated for this.
With no career prospects and a baby on the way, Mark finds himself making the worst mistake of his life and signing on with Jason.
What awaits him in Quanlom is going to change everything.
What awaits him in Quanlom is weirdness of the highest order: a civil war led by ten-year-old twins wielding something that looks a lot like magic, leading an army of warriors who look a lot like gods.
What awaits him in Quanlom is an actual goddamn dragon.
I didn't know much about the book when I began reading, only knowing that the images seemed to interest me. The colors and illustrations really stick out and really make an impact on you as the reader. They colors are rich and dark but match the tone of the story and complement the plot.
The plot itself was really interesting to read about. The magical realism was particularly interesting. But what really interested me was seeing the obvious political undertones of the story. I could tell that the authors and illustrators were trying to get a specific message across about international involvement in conflicts, conflict areas, etc. As someone who's hoping to study international relations and political science, this provided really interesting commentary that made me think about the actions, consequences, causes and effects, etc of everything and of all the decisions made in the book. It sure was fascinating. The book is really thought-provoking if you read it and look at it in depth.
The book is definitely darker than most of the graphic novels that I've read and compared to most of the books First Second puts out, at least that I've read. It was much more gory than I was expecting (though perhaps I should have expected just as much), and it didn't really hide the nasty bits. This one's definitely for an older audience, and I don't think younger audiences would understand much of the subtle messages and what's written between the lines.