Author: Antoine Ozenam and Joel Jurion
Release Date: June 7
Publisher: Magnetic Press
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.
A population of secret were-animals hide among us, and young Angel Tomassini is about to learn just how widespread — and dangerous — it is! (Source: Goodreads)
Angel Tomassini thinks he’s just a normal kid from a rich family. It turns out nothing could be further from the truth. His dad’s a mafia don and Ange is actually possessed by the magical spirit of the Tiger zodiac. After he starts developing Tiger powers Ange has to learn to control the Tiger, while protecting those who seek to destroy him and steal the Tiger power.
Zodiac stories are some of my absolute favourites. Jackie Chan Adventures was a show I love growing up, Fruits Basket is another classic in my mind…but this was messy and confusing. The worst thing about Klaw is that it was entertaining but I was still confused and left with the predicament of assigning a star rating to it. This book is fun for the most part, but the world building is sloppy, the characterization is practically nonexistent, and the pacing is inconsistent. For most of the book I was in it, but when it ended I just didn’t know what to do with it.
The story follows Angel, a teenager raised to believe his family is normal. His father, as it turns out, is the head of the mafia. And Angel has somehow become possessed with a Zodiac spirit. I think this is an absolutely fabulous concept. We get something very similar in Stan Lee’s Zodiac Legacy books, and those are an even worse version of the same concept. In Klaw, we don’t get a ton of information about either of these things, that leaves a lot of questions unanswered or just answered poorly. The more time I have to think about it, the more questions I have. What exactly are the Zodiacs? Why the feud? What was this ritual Ange’s dad performed that made him into the Tiger? How did Dan find Ange? None of this is really even touched.
And then suddenly in the third book of the series we’ve just forward 7 years and these an endless array of even more unanswered information. So much is introduced in this third book that never really gets anywhere near being explained. On top of the shoddy world building this third book really represents a huge issue of pacing. We have a majorly slow build and burn for most of the book and then suddenly we’re racing into an unearned ending. Suddenly Ange has 2 Zodiac powers, and even more quickly he has 4! And then we meet the new Dragon without so much as a moment’s pause.
The characters are pretty poorly developed. Ange isn’t an interesting lead. He’s there and he’s angry and I just didn’t care. I didn’t know enough about his relationship with his father to care that he didn’t know his dad was a mob boss. His brother was barely there. Dan seemed like a creep and we’re meant to care when he dies? No one was interesting or sympathetic in any way. Then in book 3 we get new characters and forced emotional connections that just don’t add up and aren’t earned.
Things that are going for this book? It’s fairly immersive, I was into it while I read it. It was only on the other side that I really felt disconnected from what I’d read. It’s also an interesting concept. Of course it’s not a unique concept, but I think it’s interesting and I think Ozenam had a lot of untapped potential on this story. The best thing about this book is the art. Jurion has some of the most interesting art I’ve seen in this type of comic. It’s unique, the colouring is also fantastic. I really liked the art and would love to see Jurion work on more things.
It’s unfortunate that so much of Klaw was a let down because it had potential. There was wonderful art, a good concept, interesting action – just a lot other failures. I couldn’t recommend this I don’t think, it’s just too disappointing.