Read for: Netgalley/Requested Review/ Graphic Novel
Synopsis: "A dystopic Nordic fantasy world, where spirits of light are the key to life, but seemingly have abandoned the world. Young Nils and his father set out to discover why the ground has grown infertile, heading north where the drought seems worse to find the cause. Far along the way, they find signs of fresh and vibrant life, caretaken by these little light spirits. But before they know it, a large metal creature arrives and attacks the creatures, apparently hunting and gathering them. From out of the woods, a woman attacks the creature, bringing it to its knees... apparently the plant was bait for the spirits, which in turn were bait for the metal creature, which serves the high-tech Cyan Nation. This huntress, named Alba, takes Nils and his father into their tribe, where the battle between the shamanistic people and the Cyan Nation is paramount, a battle over the protection vs exploitation of the light spirits power... Meanwhile, three goddesses watch these events, lamenting the fact that man had abandoned all belief in their power long ago. They watch but do not intervene, despite the fact that the spirits are being harvested en masse by the Cyan Nation, wreaking ruin on the world outside their city. Realizing that this conflict will in one way or another change the very fabric of this world, they slowly begin to intervene... As they continue their travels, Nils has a dream (seeded by one of the goddesses) about the World Tree, Yggdrasil, which is being consumed by a metal plague. He knows he must now find and save the tree, and in the process, save the world. But the high council of the Cyan Nation would have otherwise... Having been separated in their quest, Nils's father finds himself a guest of the Cyan Prince, where he learns that they do indeed understand the power of the spirits, which they call Ethernum, serving as the power source for their technological advancement. More sinister than that, however, is the fact that they've used the Ethernum as a means of near-eternal longevity, having wiped out all competitors to their power and resource long ago. And now, they believe they have unlocked the secrets for using the Ethernum to revive the dead... And for the goddesses, that is a step too far. They intervene, but in the process find one of themselves surprisingly captured by the Cyan royalty... and then killed. The remaining two goddesses are torn by this affront. One vows to wipe mankind off the planet for good, while the other goes to help Nils save the Life Tree. High fantasy adventure combining science-fiction with pseudo-spiritual magic, posing dramatic examinations of man vs nature, life vs death, fact vs faith, and man's desire to play god."
My Review: As soon as I heard about this book and saw the cover I knew I had to read it. I was intrigued by the idea of reverting back to mythology in a dystopian world. I didn't get as much Norse mythology as I would have liked but it was still an epic story. The illustrations are amazing and the unique world was great. It was a bit difficult to follow and the reasoning behind events was not well explained. There are a few different unique cultures/religions throughout the story and I loved that idea but we didn't really get to see much of how those cultures evolved or how they have survived. The artwork though and the few character story lines that you can actually follow somewhat kept you turning pages. This was aesthetically beautiful but left me a bit confused and underwhelmed with the story.
My Rating: I had such high hopes for this one, I am always on the lookout for unique or mythology based graphic novels. The artwork in this was amazing and the concept was amazing as well, however the story delivery just lacked a bit. I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.
I received a complimentary copy of this book via Netgalley, the above is my honest review and opinion.
You can find out more about Jérôme Hamon and his work on his Goodreads Page.
Nils: The Tree of Life is scheduled to be released on February 11th but you can pre-order your copy now in print format from Amazon and Barnes & Noble or request it at your local library or comic book store.