My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It’s hard to precis a book like this without throwing immense spoilers around the room and pointing to said spoilers with neon flashing arrows. As a result of this, I hope you’ll forgive me for delivering a fairly bald synopsis albeit it one with a coda of ‘you really should read this’.
Barbara lives in a world where the fantastical and the real intertwine. She’s clearly struggling, locked in a world where the only friends she has are characters from her near obsessive interest in Dungeons and Dragons. And the other thing Barbara has is an interest in killing giants.
Kelly’s story is moving, harsh, and intensely funny at points. It’s one to go blind into in a way, though if you’re using or reccommending this professionally, I would suggest that you read it yourself in order to fully understand the thematic depth and elemental darkness present in this stunningly bold book.
Artistically it’s a vicious, intense ride. Coloured solely in black and white, starkly so at points, the dynamic Manga style allows for some stunning panels. Niimura’s splash pages are stunning, rarely not leaving you breathless. I had a great amount of love for his speech panels, bleeding storytelling with every stroke. There’s some stunning use of speech redactions in them, reinforcing the fact that this is Barbara’s story and some things are too hideous for her to be able to hear.
And now for that coda:
This book is Neil Gaiman meets Patrick Ness meets Molly from Runaways meets Ted Hughes. And if that does not make you pick up a copy, then I do not know what does.