I love children’s graphic novels that have some real depth to them, both in story and illustration. Graphic novels like the Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi and This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews tell you a fantastic story, with gorgeous art, but you know that the story you’re reading is only a small part of the world. The first book in Tim Probert’s new graphic novel series, Lightfall, is one of these graphic novels. The Girl and the Galdurian is one story from Irpa, but Tim’s world is so detailed that you know there is much more of this world to explore. This first book has me hooked and desperate for book 2.
Bea lives deep in the heart of Irpa, with her adopted grandfather, Pig Wizard. Their home is Salty Pig’s Tonics and Tictures, where people come to buy remedies and elixirs. Pig Wizard is old and forgetful, so he must leave reminders for himself everywhere. Luckily he has Bea to help him, and she gathers ingredients that he needs from the land around them. While gathering ingredients in the woods one day Bea meets Cad, a member of the Galdurians, a race thought to be long-extinct. Cad is looking for Pig Wizard in the hopes that he can translate an ancient scroll, so he follows Bea back to Salty Pig’s. When they arrive they discover that Pig Wizard has left to perform a duty that he has neglected. Bea and Cad go in search of him. Along the way they meet some interesting characters who both help and hinder them. There is also a sinister presence that is stepping out of the shadows and there is something they are desperate to get their hands on.
I love everything about The Girl and the Galdurian, from the story and the characters, to the artwork and the design. Tim has both written and illustrated the story, so the text and illustrations are seamless. The story flows really well, cutting smoothly between Bea and Cad’s journey and the other, darker thread of the story. It is a beautifully designed and produced graphic novel, with thick, quality paper and vivid inks (its smells of quality too). Bea and Cad are lovable characters, who already feel like your best friends by the end of the book. I would follow them anywhere.
Tim’s fantasty world of Irpa is richly detailed. You feel like Bea’s story is just scratching the surface of what is going on in this complex world. As this is the first book in the series, we learn bits of details about Irpa and its history, but there feels like there is so much more to explore in future books. I love the details that Tim puts into the illustrations. These details tell you things about the world, without explicitly explaining what they are or what they mean. As you’re reading you’ll see creatures in the background or ruins of a building poking through the ground.
Tim’s illustrations are sublime! He takes us through a variety of landscapes throughout the story and my mouth dropped open in awe at the different landscapes he has created. I would love to have prints of some of the bigger panels all over my house. Tim’s battle scenes are also epic, especially when they involve giant crabs. I also love the colour palette that Tim has used, which highlights the difference in the light of Irpa. The wordless scenes, with the sinister creatures, are quite creepy, and set the tone for the story.
I can’t wait to introduce the kids at my school to this graphic novel. I know that it is going to be incredibly popular, especially with those kids who love Amulet. It’s a similar epic fantasy story, set in a world that is rich in detail. This is a must-have for primary and intermediate school libraries. I am desperate for the second book and I know kids will be queuing up for it too.