Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Review - The Dam Keeper

The Dam Keeper (Dam Keeper #1)
by Robert Kondo & Dice Tsutsumi
Date: 2017
Publisher: First Second
Reading level: MG
Book type: graphic novel
Pages: 160
Format: e-book
Source: library

Life in Sunrise Valley is tranquil, but beyond its borders lies certain death. A dangerous black fog looms outside the village, but its inhabitants are kept safe by an ingenious machine known as the dam. Pig’s father built the dam and taught him how to maintain it. And then this brilliant inventor did the unthinkable: he walked into the fog and was never seen again.

Now Pig is the dam keeper. Except for his best friend, Fox, and the town bully, Hippo, few are aware of his tireless efforts. But a new threat is on the horizon—a tidal wave of black fog is descending on Sunrise Valley. Now Pig, Fox, and Hippo must face the greatest danger imaginable: the world on the other side of the dam.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

WARNING: minor spoilers - To read this review with the spoilers hidden, check it out on Goodreads.

When I checked this e-book out from the library, I didn't realize it was based on a short film. It does have a very cinematic look to it. The illustrations were probably the best part of the book.

Pig is left to be the dam keeper after his father disappears, and it's up to him to keep the fog at bay. It took a little while for me to realize that the characters are all children. You'd think that a town wouldn't leave its survival up to a young anthropomorphized pig, but I guess we have to suspend disbelief a little bit.

By the time the book ended, the story had only just begun. We've gotten to know the main characters (Pig, whose father was the original dam keeper; Fox, his best friend; Hippo, Fox's friend, who's a bit of a loudmouth blowhard; and now Van, who's some sort of unhinged lizard--and probably my favourite character so far), and we've followed them past the dam into what should be a wasteland... but it turns out that there's more beyond the dam than Pig's father let on.

The art is really beautiful, and I was engaged enough by the story that I wouldn't mind reading the next installment when it comes out later this year.

Plot: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Pace: 3/5
Writing & Editing: 4/5
Illustration: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall Rating: 3.38 out of 5 ladybugs

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