Book Review: The Savage by David Almond

The SavageTitle: The Savage by Dave McKean, David Almond
Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Young Adult
Pages: 80
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: 14th October 2008
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Rating: ★★★★

Blue Baker is writing a story - not all that stuff about wizards and fairies and happily ever after - a real story, about blood and guts and adventures, because that's what life's really like. At least it is for Blue, since his dad died and Hopper, the town bully, started knocking him and the other kids around. But Blue's story has a life of its own - weird and wild and magic and dark - and when the savage pays a nighttime visit to Hopper, Blue starts to wonder where he ends and his creation begins...

I don’t think that anyone could say that they don’t find this book visually impressive.  McKean’s illustrations – black jagged lines with a simple, earthy colour palette – is very effective, and perfectly complements Almond’s edgy short story.  Here’s a glimpse inside the book:

The storyline is clever and interesting, yet I find it left a bittersweet taste in my mouth; after all, violence and grief form the backbone of the book.  The best example is the wild savage himself, who begins life as a manifestation of the young narrator’s grief over losing his father.  As Blue gets more and more obsessed with writing about him, the reader gets more and more concerned for the child’s well-being.

The book was enjoyable, but something holds me back from giving it five stars; despite its best intentions, I wasn’t hugely moved by the reading experience, and most of my four star rating goes towards the artwork.

Star Rating: ☆☆☆☆ (4/5)

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