Monday, July 8, 2013

William and the Lost Spirit

William and the Lost Spirit
by Gwen de Bonneval and Mattheu Bonhomme
152 pages
Middle School+

William's sister Helise has run away.  After the death of their father, their mother is remarrying, and neither of them is particularly happy about it.  Helise has shown her displeasure by running away, and William is considering joining her.  After he raid's he father's alchemy workshop, he sets off, and spend the night in a tree. 

The next day, as he is trying to find some food, he notices a servant from his home running through the forest.  Right in front of William, the man is shot with an arrow through his chest.  Brigands have finally attacked their home.  When William goes back, everyone is dead, and crows are feasting on the bodies.  While searching for any survivors, he meets Brabant, a knight of uncertain origin.  Since traveling with him is better than nothing, Willaim lets Brabant escort him to his aunt Ysane's home.

When William gets to Ysane's place, the adventures start.  He travels far and wide, looking for his sister.  He meets men with no heads, but faces on their chests, griffons, monsters and more.  Throughout it all, the friendly little white goat he found a Ysane's is with him.  Will he ever find Helise?  And will they ever be united with their mother?

So, this was a really interesting story line.  Lots of symbolism, fantastical creatures, and meaning behind everything.  Great illustrations that really helped tell the mood of the story.  William was a good character: always wants to do right by his family, searching for why his fathered died, and trying to protect his sister. 

One thing I did not like was the violence and gore in the illustrations.  I loved the color, the variations on the mythical beasts, and the detail that went into everything.  I did not like seeing people ran through with swords, blood everywhere, and crows picking out eyeballs.  If possible, I would give this more to high school aged, rather than middle school, but everything else points to middle school.

Overall, I liked the story, I liked the characters, and mostly liked the illustrations, but because of the bloody details in the illustration, not my favorite book.  I will be really wary of recommending this, but for teens and adults, it would be more appropriate than kids.

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