Graphic Novel Review: Kairos by Ulysse Malassagne
Posted on December 15, 2020 at 10:36 am by Gene Ambaum
Kairos by Ulysse Malassagne. English translation by Anne and Owen Smith. First Second, 2020. 9781250209610. 190pp. http://www.powells.com/book/-9781250209610?partnerid=34778&p_bt
Nils and Anaelle are spending a few days at a remote cabin. On the first night, everything is peaceful until the fireplace erupts in a blue explosion. Armored and sword-wielding dragons appear from another world, and it quickly becomes clear they’re there for Anaelle. In the fight that soon follows, she’s much more of a badass than she seemed. But the dragons capture her and take her through the portal. Nils isn’t going to just let that happen, so he leaps through in pursuit.
What follows is a fresh take on the rescue-the-princess fantasy subgenre. Anaelle’s parents want her to marry, to keep their power intact. (She’s to marry her father, which no one is excited about.) Nils has little but his recklessness and his anger to help him save the woman he loves. Turns out that, along with a few new friends, may be probably enough. His quest will change him, though, and things won’t turn out like he expects.
Malassagne’s drawings are as kinetic as any manga action sequences I’ve seen, and the book has a mix of things I hadn’t expected — bloody violence, social justice themes, and kawaii characters.
If you’re a librarian in a school, give this a read before putting it on your shelf. It’s not that I think it’s inappropriate, but it’s more adult than you might think, with little hint of that in the initial pages.