Anyone who knows me can attest to my love of faeries. Any kind. Tinker Bell, high fantasy, stories, artwork, you name it. So I had to pick up this graphic novel when I saw the cover. I assumed I couldn’t go wrong with an entire book about a faerie. I was so wrong.
Vögelein: Old Ghosts is about a clockwork faerie, meaning she needs to be wound like a clock in order to survive and fly. This story takes place three hundred years after the first book and her Guardian’s death. She feels distraught and wants to keep her promise to him, which she tries to do with the help of her musician friend Mason.
I hadn’t read the first book and picked this one up not realizing it was the second in the series. The foreword reassured me that I could read this without having read the first book. And so I continued on. I wish I hadn’t. This was a bore. I really wanted to like it, but not much more happened in the story than was on the back cover. I didn’t always know what was going on and had trouble actually caring. The story jumped back and forth between characters and felt disjunct, which made it hard to become invested in the story. I wish it had been divided into sections, because it would be much easier to follow.
The main character is Vögelein, the clockwork faerie. Other than knowing that she needs to be wound up like a clock and that she made a promise to her previous Guardian, Alexi, there unfortunately isn’t much character development. I left the story without knowing much about even the protagonist. I don’t know how much of her backstory was in the original novel, so that may have helped. Even still, I was told this could be read as a standalone, so that’s what I expected.
As you may imagine, there was even less background given for the secondary characters. The story jumped around so much that I didn’t get to know the characters at all, so their actions made little sense and, ultimately, made the story feel underwhelming.
As if the characters and story weren’t bad enough, the novel suffered most in its style.
Panel-by-panel the artwork looks great. Most of it can be described as high fantasy, which is very appealing to me. However, the style changes multiple times throughout the novel, which leaves it feeling very disconnected. Each style could work on its own, but not meshed together. Even the fonts varied a lot and the changes were very confusing, unnecessary, and distracting.
The language was okay. Just average. I liked that some of the words weren’t translated because it added some authenticity to the story. Other than that nice touch, there wasn’t much special about it.
Bottom Line (0.7/5)
Vögelein: Old Ghosts suffers from undeveloped characters, a lacking story, and a disjointed style.
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