It’s a bit of an odd experience reading a graphic novel on an iPhone screen, but thanks to a freebie PDF from Tor.com, that’s exactly what I was able to do with Three Shadows by Cyril Pedrosa, a work that otherwise I would never have encountered. So props to Tor.com for giving its members a chance to check it out.
The story is inspired, according to the author/artist’s notes, by the death of the child of close friends. What we get for a story, then, is a sort of haunting litle folktale about how parents Louis and Lise and their son Joachim are living a peaceful life until three shadowy figures arrive on their farm, watching and waiting. Soon enough it becomes clear that the three have come for Joachim–and Louis promptly flees with his son, willing to go to any lengths to keep the boy from death, even if it means losing his own humanity. Art-wise, each page is filled with character and fluid detail, even on a tiny iPhone screen; full size, I fully expect it would be stunning.
The flow of the story was sometimes difficult for me to follow, but I don’t know if this was the author’s own story style and sensibilities, or whether it’s an artifact of the work having been translated from the French. Eventually I simply let the story flow as it would, which helped–it gave it leeway to be as haunting and sometimes surreal as it liked.
I wouldn’t recommend this to parents with young children or to folks who might in general shy away from the eventual fate of Joachim (although I will note that that was tastefully and lovingly done). Still, though, the work is well worth a look. Four stars.