I love reading. Books are amazing. They are a form of escapism, yes, but they are also inspiration, joy, and... well. Goodness. I think in some ways I have used my appetite for reading to define parts of my personality, so it made sense for me to review some of what I read! Here we go...
Title: The Divine
Author: Asaf Hanuka, Tomer Hanuka, and Boaz Lavie
Publication Date: July 14th 2015 from First Second Books
Synopsis: "Quanlom is an obscure Southeast Asian country mired in a vicious civil war; Mark is an ex-military explosives expert from Texas with a dead-end job and a baby on the way. When Mark's old buddy Jason comes calling with a lucrative military contract to Quanlom, Mark ends up signing on for way more than he expected. In a place where land mines and ancient spirits exist in equal measure, the two men must choose their allies carefully in order to survive.
From world-renowned artists Asaf Hanuka and Tomer Hanuka and writer Boaz Lavie, The Divine is a fast-paced, brutal, and breathlessly beautiful portrait of a world where ancient powers vie with modern warfare...and nobody escapes unscathed."
My thoughts: '...fast-paced, brutal, and breathlessly beautiful...' I think I can agree with that. This book is really confronting on many levels, and I didn't always (in fact, hardly ever) felt comfortable reading it. But I still think it was an extremely interesting read, and the art was just so beautiful that I found it hard to put down - I was challenged, but I still read this in one sitting (it helps that it isn't super long, either).
The characters are as powerful as the story and the gore contained within it - they are confronting and seem to represent more than what you see on face value. The two boys on the cover, in particular, are quite intriguing and, while there is very little exploration into their back story and abilities, you still find yourself entranced by them.
A lot of this book is quite graphic - gore, in particular, is used regularly - so just be warned of that. I do think it lent something to the power of this book and wasn't used wastefully, but I was still a little overwhelmed at times. The artists' knowledge of the human body is detailed, to say the least, and that comes across amazingly in the artwork.
I do think a few things were lost due to how short the book is and, while I believe the compact nature of the story is very good, I would have liked to have seen more exploration of the characters simply to understand their motivations and backgrounds a little better. Also, I want to understand a little better why Jason is such a jerk (sorry, my opinion there, but seriously), even if the background just says 'because he was born a jerk'. I just found myself wanting more.
Overall, I don't think I will be rereading this one (to avoid gore-induced nightmares), but I will most likely be sharing it with friends so that it can continue passing on its amazingness.
I received a review copy of this book from First Second Books (thank you!).
You would like this book if: you enjoy powerful graphic novels with a deeper message; you don't mind a bit of gore.
Tea to drink while reading this book: don't drink tea. you may throw it up when the gore happens. :)
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