#BookReview: Flight of the Raven by Jean-Pierre Gibrat

Historical Graphic Novel
War Era Historical

Le vol du corbeau #1 - 2

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Winner of the Best Artist Award at the Angoulême Festival! Lushly illustrated and one of the most stunningly beautiful graphic novels of the 21st century.

The story takes place in Paris during the German Occupation and stars a memorable heroine in the French Resistance fighter named Jeanne. With the help of an apolitical cat burglar named François, she tries to save her comrades, including her missing sister Cécile, from the Gestapo. They walk in the places between shadows, as Gibrat uses the evocative Paris rooftops and river barges on the Seine almost as separate characters. The book also includes a portfolio of pin-ups featuring its heroine.

Nominated for two 2018 Eisner Awards, for Best U.S. Edition of International Material and Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art) for creator Jean-Pierre Gibrat.

I’ve been following historical fiction for the better part of ten years and I can honestly say I’ve never seen a graphic novel in the spotlight of literary circles. Why these storytellers are less revered than their traditional counterparts is anyone's guess, but if Jean-Pierre Gibrat’s Flight of the Raven is anything to go by, I think it well past time the powers that be put their preconception and prejudice to rest.

Unlike so many of his peers (by which I mean a significant number of traditional novelists) Gibrat understands that the war impacted different people in different ways. He illustrates this by writing characters who, even when they share the same opinions and experiences, react individually and I enjoyed the depth that afforded the narrative. The war is there, but the story centers on the survival of those living in its shadow and the risks they take to make it through.

Gibrat's artwork is also beautifully rendered in panels that capture both the urban and rural beauty of the story’s setting. The vibrant imagery is genuinely charming and leaves the reader with a clear understanding of the what the Resistance itself is fighting to protect.

Flight of the Raven is a short, but intriguing page-turner. A must-read for fans of historical fiction and art lovers alike.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Obtained from: Personal Library
Read: June 25, 2018

"This new world must preclude brutality, since we already know that justice is a lost cause."