Simon and Schuster
I've read an advanced copy of this novel. Dark/Horror fantasy. My reflection on it is for a product before publication. Art is 5.
The artwork is amazing.
I found myself just taking in all of the details and motion. Great use of color to hint changes, zooming to hint tension and emotion, the characters have great character design, human world or not. I almost wished this was a silent graphic novel thought. It's more for an older audience, and the text is very complex. Doesn't help when the characters don't finish their sentences and the information gets convoluted.
I appreciate the pages that have less text and more surreal transitions of panels, almost non-sequitur, even when it may confuse us, it adds to the worldbuilding and we eventually get that we're sent into the future or a memory/flashback. But for a first book introducing the world, it would be easier to read clues by a narrator to situate us in space in time and not expect the reader to do all the work. I love the nature world. I too would want to be a Gardener and protect the balance.
The author gives more information on things I don't care about and less on the things I want to know more about. There's a lot of telling and not showing (ironically) I feel we were dropped into this world and there was another volume I missed. This makes it hard to make connections with the characters or feel the emotion (for example: why do I care that she is betraying him or attacking him if I didn't experience their friendship? I don't even know if I would like her as a character or if I'm supposed to be sad that she seems possessed.) Sometimes it has a very adult lusty feeling to it (even when we have a black middle-grade kid as one of the main characters).
Heavy text and confusing, many times I had to reread the sentences several times and I still didn't get it. The story is made of short episodes but they are too short and sometimes frustrating to understand. I guess it's trying to be too much at the same time and ends up not being focused and essential. Still, there will be fellow experienced comic book readers who will appreciate the author's style. I grew up with European Bande dessinée I don't mind heavy text if it is well written. I would have aimed for a more minimalistic Moebius kind of story for the introduction and let the art shine more.
Still, I think it's worth revisiting the text to make it less confusing. The art is five stars. I would still collect this for the art.
Thank you Netgalley and Publisher for this e-Arc.
From the publisher:
An adolescent girl searches the deep dark woods for her missing dog, entangling her destiny with a chivalrous mushroom faerie on a mystical quest to protect the biome from catastrophic ruin. The Mushroom Knight follows the adventures of Gowlitrot the Gardener, a sentient bipedal fungus created by a race of woodland gnomes called Gödels, as he investigates and unearths a deadly conspiracy that reveals the true nature of himself and the devastation humans have wrought upon the global biosystem that he has sworn to protect.