Tim Burton-esque graphic novel full of monsters and female warriors.
Mila is a solitary teenager ready to put another boring summer vacation behind her until she meets Agnes, an adventurous girl who turns out to be a ghost. And not just a regular ghost, but one carrying the essence of an ancient fallen king and a mouth full of teeth that used to be his guardian warriors. Three-time Eisner Award–nominated writer/artist Tony Sandoval presents a wondrous world of secret places and dreamlike magic hidden in the everyday corners of our sleeping imagination.
Title: Watersnakes (Original title: Le Serpent d’eau)
Author: Tony Sandoval
Publication: November 20, 2018 by Lion Forge Comics
Genre: Fantasy, Horror
Target audience: Young Adult
I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.
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When I saw the cover of Watersnakes, I was already half in love with it. The synopsis got me completely hooked. A ghost girl and guardian warriors (who are, taking the cover into account, all female)? ‘Yeah, I’m gonna love this’, is what I thought. And yet, 3 stars don’t really signify undying love, right?
Ok, I already mentioned that the cover is what caught my attention, but I gotta talk about the artwork separately. Simply because it’s so good.
We get these weird people with long limbs and huge heads, reminiscent of Tim Burton’s style. Fitting to that, the atmosphere is over all pretty dark (but not that dark to expect severed limbs and heads, really, that was a surprise).
This totally falls into my range. If had had to rate this graphic novel solely based on artwork, it would get 5 stars.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. So here comes the plot (and the aspect dooming this to 3 stars).
Gaaaah, why oh why do you have to disappoint me this much?
Which seems like a love story between two girls suddenly becomes… something else. When I started reading Watersnakes, I had already forgotten about the synopsis, so a lot of things came as a surprise. But I feel like not knowing certain details (for example that Agnes is a ghost) is a change for the better. I was pleasantly surprised when the story turned around and I suspect I would have been bored during the first part, would I have come in with different expectations. Mila doesn’t know about Agnes true ‘identity’ for about 50 pages. Readers awaiting an adventure featuring a ghost could have already abandoned the book in that time.
Which brings us to another point. The pacing was just off. The first 1/3 we have Agnes and Mila acquainting themselves with each other. The next 2/3 bring us to the ‘actual plot’ with the ancient fallen kingdom. Everything seems rushed, without much space for explanations and sudden changes of setting, that leave the reader completely confused. You just barely understand what is happening or why it is happening by the time the graphic novel is already coming to an end. You’re left kinda unsatisfied.
I wish the plot would have been more worked out, maybe even distributed to several issues.
Nonetheless, it was still a quick enjoyable read, if a slightly confusing one.
“Is it some kind of pagan or satanic ritual?”