Berger: Dark Horse. Nov. 2022. 152p. ISBN 9781506731520. pap. $24.99. SF
Eleven-year-old Kasper Salamandre spends his time creating comic books in which his father is a larger-than-life hero battling monsters. But when his real-life father is killed at sea, Kasper is heartbroken and adrift. Kasper’s mother arranges for him to spend a healing summer abroad with his grandfather and cousins in Montparnasse, a country controlled by an oppressive regime that has outlawed any creative expression that doesn’t glorify the state. Once Kasper arrives, the plot is largely propelled by his discovery that his family is involved in secret acts of rebellion that would result in their being executed for treason if exposed. Suspenseful scenes abound as the story builds to a gripping climax, but what makes this one special is Culbard’s (Brink: Book 4) wrenching portrait of a grieving boy discovering how art bolsters the spirits of its creator and of their audience, especially when all seems lost.
VERDICT An incredibly moving, uplifting coming-of-age story from a creator working at the top of his ability. Not to be missed.
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