Author: Miss Lasko-Gross
Release Date: January 20
Publisher: Z2 Comics
Source: Diamond Book Distributors on NetGalley (A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.)
Check this book out on Goodreads.
In a fantastical world where old traditions and religion dominate every aspect of life, lives a girl named Henni. Unlike most in her village, Henni questions and wonders what the world is like as she comes of age. Striking out on her own, Henni goes out in search of truth, adventure, and more! (Source: Goodreads)
Henni was taught at a young age to question what she is told. When she is about to be forced into an unwanted marriage she runs away from her village, only to discover that more exist in the world different but very much the same as her own home. Henni learns that she may not always be able to escape the constricting society she has always known, but she still has hope that she will.
I found this comic really thought provoking. The comic is something of a commentary on religion, though I felt it lacked impact remaining somewhat vague and without much force behind the message. The art style was unique and interesting, reminding me of some older animation, though I’m having a hard time pinpointing the exact films it reminded me of. I did find some of the art a little awkward. I was really happy with the strong, highly motivated female lead. I definitely think it’s worth a read as it is unique and thought provoking.
The plot deals with Henni’s escape from her restrictive and abusive community, but beyond that it also deals with her coming of age story. Her questioning society is what sets her coming of age into motion. Wanting something more than what is available to her she comes into her own, questioning those around her, learning about herself, about about the world. I think that journey, and the strength it gives her is really what drives the story. The religious content is also really important of course, but her learning to have strength in who she is is great. The religious content was interesting, showing how similar all of these societies are despite their beliefs in different Gods. The blind obedience to rules is also a really interesting aspect, especially when you see Henni’s sister completely ignore the truth when she sees it. It was definitely thought provoking. I think there was some punch missing from the overall message, just something didn’t come through clearly enough
Henni is a really fantastic character. Her strength and inquisitive nature were really inspiring. Especially as she faces death in the second village, she uses her wit to escape death. I was really impressed with the development of Henni from child to adult throughout the book. She was the perfect vehicle for telling this story, and I was hugely impressed with how Lasko-Gross handled her character making finding the place for her, and pursuing her future more important than romance or other aspects that many authors fall back on. The characters are also all cats, which was an interesting choice.
The art was really interesting. As I’ve said it’s really unique. It looks like something, but not something new or something you’d see a lot, which makes it stick out. The art is primarily black and white, with this blue-grey shading colour which is really interesting to look at. There are some really fantastic details in the illustrations, the eyes especially are really memorable and beautiful. I will say there are some awkward panels and illustrations. Some of the characters look unnatural, or actions look strange. It’s pretty common throughout, which made the overall style a little disappointing because of its tendency to look so unnatural and awkward.
I think this is definitely worth checking out. The content really makes up for anything awkward about it. It’s definitely a good starting point for looking at religious discussion. I think it’s a good read, interesting visually, and features a great strong female lead.