Sarah's Stars

Aki Shimizu.  Qwan. Vol. 1
Tokyopop  $13.99  ISBN 1-595-32534-4  178 pg.
Reviewed by Melissa, Age 13

I was taken in from the very start by the colourful title page, and odd backwards opening of this book. It is original, one hundred percent, MANGA. This comic is read from back to front, and right to left. No one else could put such vivid imagination in text and illustrations quite like Aki Shimizu did in Qwan. Human headed, tiger embodied demons lurk behind the darkness. Amazing creatures and people of all kinds, walk the streets. Iím sure you will agree that this is a book you can judge by its cover.

Qwan has the outer appearance of a young boy. This look, in itself, does not do him justice. He is a youth with amazing martial art skills, the ability to eat demons, and ingest their powers. Qwan, is soon accompanied by a lazy, money crazed, man named Chikei. In the book they meet many more evil monsters and new characters. The comic takes place in China during The Later Han Dynasty. They travel in search of the Emperorís palace, to find a verse called The Essential Arts of Peace, hidden somewhere in the palaceís elaborate structure. This verse, will tell him the purpose of his life, and he will stop at nothing to get it. Although, he is the main character, the story is written from more than just his perspective.

The drawings are amazing! I can look at the black and white sketch in front of me, and see it moving in a colourful animation, playing inside my head. I soon figured out, that from reading the text, the boldness and the different captions all meant something. And that with every caption, there was a descriptive picture to follow. The characters faces always reflect a new emotion, this brings the initial annoyance, anger or sadness the person felt, to life.

While reading, I realized this particular novel is very powerful. It uses coarse language and graphic pictures, making it a great read for those who are over thirteen years of age. All in all, the story line keeps you captivated. You devour the pages quickly and before you know it the pages are gone. Far too soon the familiar words Öto be continued, float across the page, leaving you in a frenzy for the next book in the Qwan Chronicle.

A unique read, deserving of 5 shimmering stars. In my personal opinion, this book is one that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Although it is a Graphic Novel, it still has intriguing text. Graphics and verse work together hand in hand, to give an extremely well told story.


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