Graphic Novel Review: The Raven’s Child
What do you get when you take Katniss Everdeen, Batman, and a splash of Tim Burton and HP Lovecraft? You get The Raven’s Child, a new graphic novel from writer Thomas Sniegoski and artist Tom Brown. Full of awesomely dark imagery and creepy monsters, Raven’s Child is a great graphic novel for everyone, with a kick-ass heroine and tons of gripping emotion at play.
Years ago, a monstrous race called The Throng arrived from another dimension and took over the Earth. Humanity is on the brink of extinction, and the Throng’s leader, the High Lord, has plans for conquering another dimension. But there’s one person who can stand up to them: The Raven’s Child. A myth carried down from the Throng Race, the Raven’s Child is the only thing that can instill fear in these monsters, and Carissa Devin has taken up the mantle of The Raven’s Child to fight back against the creatures that took her family, her friends, and her home.
Tom Sniegoski’s initial premise for Raven’s Child may sound like nearly every other Teen graphic novel/novel you’ve heard, but it’s actually much different from books like Hunger Games, Divergent, and almost anything else your typical teenager might check out from the local library. Sniegoski fills Raven’s Child with some exceptional characters, and his inner monologue for Carissa is excellent. There’s a great amount of world building here, but it’s GOOD world-building. Sniegoski gives us just enough background information on Carissa, her Throng ally Claudus, and the High Lord to understand their motives, but he also keeps a little mystery around all of them. He also presents this information about the characters at appropriate moments in the story, and doesn’t just do the info-dump trap that a lot of current fiction falls into.
Speaking of Carissa, she kicks some serious ass (yes, I said that already, but it needs to be mentioned again). Like the daughter of Batman and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Carissa is driven, but not so much so that she’s completely lost her humanity, which at times causes her to make mistakes. She’s not infallible, and many times during The Raven’s Child she has legitimate concerns over if her decision to hunt down these monsters is even making a difference (sound familiar, Batfans?). Despite her doubts though, Sniegoski makes sure to give Carissa plenty of awesome moments that show you the hero she is, and she grows in a really interesting way by the end of the book.
Raven’s Child isn’t all Tom Sniegoski’s show though. Tom Brown’s art is gorgeous, and really makes this book stand out. Brown’s creature designs are extremely unique and unsettling at times. From tall witches with giant vertical mouths in their abdomens to giant frog creatures that swallow humans and keep them in weird skin sacks in their backs, there were many monsters that made me cringe a little bit (in a good way).
If you’re a fan of Hunger Games, Buffy, or insane monster designs, you should seek out The Raven’s Child. It’s a lot of fun, and deserves to be seen by all. The world Sniegoski and Brown has created here is extremely entertaining, and I really want to see more of it. You can grab Raven’s Child on Amazon or your local bookstore, and I really hope you do. It’s definitely worth your time.