Today, my foodies, I have a brand-new treat from the pantry, something a bit different from anything else I’ve pulled out before. Today’s work is an illustrated book, something more akin to a graphic novel or story in magazine format than a traditional work. So stand back as I put on my artist’s beret and straighten my chef’s jacket as we wade in to this fusion not of genre, but of format!
Before we get hip-deep, let us recall the great laws of the Starving Reviewers of old:
- I attempt to rate every book from the perspective of a fan of the genre
- I attempt to make every review as spoiler-free as possible
The story of Caelum is similar to a contemporary paranormal tale, yet there is not certainty that the setting is precisely that of our own Earth. With the beautiful artwork, with full-page paintings taking up some pages, we have a pared-down story, but one that is obviously meant to be told in a format similar to a periodical, like a traditional comic book or magazine. Again, the fusions here are of format and not genre.
I would definitely argue that this fusion comes off stronger than its individual parts. Not that the story itself is bad. In fact, it was a well-blended smoothie of pathos, heart, emotion, and oddity, with the proper dashes of humor and action to make for a great tale on its own merits. The supernatural elements are handled with aplomb, evoking the unreal and cosmic while still finding ways to tether it down into a believable whole. Likewise, the art itself is bold and colorful, enhancing the reader’s mind’s eye view of the sometimes bizarre sights evoked from the page. The two together, though, create a wonderful rippled-ice-cream effect here, bolstering each other and enhancing the total flavor.
If there is a weakness (and there almost always is one, no matter how great the chef), it’s in the lack of length. Much like another recent and well-like treat I reviewed, Caelum‘s first issue ends at a point where you, fully invested now, want to keep gobbling up story to find out more. The bright side to this is that, as part of a series, there is a good chance you will, indeed, get more. Still, the old adage ‘it ended right when it was getting really good’ could be appropriate here.
To say more would delve into SPOILERS with a short work as this, so let me sum up. Caelum Sky Illustrated is a delightful first issue, mixing art and literature to brilliant effect! While it might be a little short in some regards, the fact that it’s an ongoing story helps shore up that one weak spot, leaving this as a treat highly recommended to those of you that like contemporary paranormal fiction or vibrant art … or both. The only people I would not recommend this to are those who either care nothing for visual art or lack a means to read it in its full-color glory.
FINAL VERDICT: ***** (A delightful first issue, mixing art and literature to brilliant effect!)