Thursday, August 15, 2019

Review - The Great Journey

The Great Journey (Elma: A Bear's Life #1)
by Ingrid Chabbert
illustrated by Léa Mazé
Date: 2019
Publisher: Europe Comics
Reading level: C
Book type: graphic novel
Pages: 43
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

Elma is a joyful, free-spirited child who is being raised by a bear she thinks of as her father. But Papa Bear is hiding a secret, and the close-knit duo must make a long and perilous journey to begin a mysterious new life beyond the forest. Adventure and danger are in store as they discover the linked secrets of Elma's past and future.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This kind of graphic "novel" really irks me. It's not a self-contained story, despite what the synopsis might lead you to believe. As far as I can tell, the synopsis describes the whole series, not just this one book. Because what you get in The Great Journey is simply one chapter that ends on a cliffhanger. There are hints about what's going on (I'm guessing Papa Bear is taking Elma home to her people), but aside from a couple of perilous situations, there's really no plot. At least, there's no plot that's satisfactorily explored in this volume. It's simply a setup for the rest of the story.

NetGalley stuck this in the children's category, so I feel I need to mention the illustrations. This book really puts the "graphic" in "graphic novel". At one point, Elma loses her clothes. At first, everything is strategically covered, but then she's drawn... well, completely. I'm not even sure if depicting children's genitalia in drawings is even legal in every country, so that's something to be aware of.

I'm not generally a fan of anthropomorphized animals interacting with humans, but in this case, Papa Bear is so human-like that he's barely a bear. He's protective and growly and snores, but he also carries his belongings around in a shoulder bag and can make fire by striking two rocks together. At the very least, he's smarter than the average bear.

I just can't get excited about what is, essentially, a chapter. Maybe if there had been a little more story here, I would've been sucked in and wanted to keep reading. As it is, though, I wasn't... so I don't.

Thank you to NetGalley and Europe Comics for providing a digital ARC.

Plot: 1/5
Characters: 2/5
Pace: 2/5
Writing & Editing: 2/5
Illustration: 3/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall Rating: 2.13 out of 5 ladybugs

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