Monday, June 16, 2014

Kylie Reviews - Sailor Twain: Or: The Mermaid in the Hudson by Mark Siegel

Sailor Twain: Or: The Mermaid in the Hudson by Mark Siegel

* Provided  by the publisher for review.

Kylie’s Rating System:
1- Fiery Loathing
2- Boring As Hell
3- Facebook Like
4- Fangirl-level Obsession
5- Idol Worship

3.5 out of 5 stars

"Sailor Twain" tells the tale of Captain Elijah Twain and his adventures aboard the steamship Lorelei, along with the Frenchman Lafayette and the mermaid South.

The story is told in such a way as to remind the reader of a black and white detective film. The novel is presented in the form of a graphic novel, and the drawings, done entirely in charcoal, are absolutely, breathtakingly beautiful. Many of the frames lack dialogue, and instead tell a whole other story within the larger narrative. The reader finds oneself studying each frame for every detail that is to be found, and a second perusal of the novel without even reading the dialogue creates just as striking of an impression. Each face and body is drawn in such a way as to convey exactly the feelings the author intended to portray, from a simple line-drawn stick-figure to a nuanced and exquisitely drawn profile.

The plot, which is a fresh application of the mermaid folktale to a nineteenth century steamship setting, carries the reader well all the way up to the third section, in which the depth required to convey the underpinnings of the underwater world, and the mermaid's motivations, are lost in a rush of action. One is left feeling slightly adrift when the last page is done, but the satisfaction of a beautiful graphic novel that also smells wonderful (at least in the First Second Publishing paperback edition) is enough for this reviewer to rate the book a solid 3.5/5 stars. On my scale, that's a "Facebook Like."

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