Book Review Wednesday: Unsounded – Volume 1: The Zombie & The Brat (5 stars)

Posted: February 12, 2014 in Book Reviews
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This one is another graphic novel, but don’t walk away if that’s not your cup of tea, you might surprise yourself. I’m very picky about which graphic novels I read because I don’t usually enjoy them as much as books. For me reading a graphic novel is like eating desert, it’s fun, but it doesn’t fill you up like books can. This one is worth a try.

And that’s the best thing about this graphic novel, you can try before you buy. Strictly speaking you don’t even need to buy, it depends on how much you want to support the wonderful artist / author Ashley Cope. Ashley very generously puts all her pages for this series (what’s in the book and much more) on a website for everyone to read for free. Here’s the link: http://www.casualvillain.com/Unsounded/

Unsounded is a lot deeper than other graphic novels I’ve come across. The world is rich and the characters are multilayered, and they grow as time goes by. Sette, one of the main characters has come such a long way from her first pages to the latest ones on the website. There are twists and so many things to discover as they go through their journey, and still more mysteries ahead. And the art is amazing!

Here, have a look at the cover as one small example:

Unsounded - Volume 1: The Zombie & The Brat

Nice, right? And believe it or not the art inside is actually better! Ashley draws these vibrant backgrounds, and she has this great skill to make the characters look so expressive. I have no idea how she does that for zombie Duane since his face is covered by that hood so much, but somehow she manages it.

Here’s the blurb:

Daughter of the Lord of Thieves, Sette Frummagem is on a mission, and she’ll lie, cheat, and steal to make sure it’s a success (she’ll lie, cheat, and steal anyway). Condemned to aid her in her rotten endeavours is a rotten corpse who seems oddly talented with the supernatural, and oddly not laying motionless in the dirt.

The road is long and no one is what they seem. Never trust a thief, and never trust anyone who won’t let you look into their eyes.

It’s funny, tragic, and heart pounding in all the right places. Seriously, this comic has so many feels it’s impossible to accurately describe them all in one short review. Ashley’s world building is immense, and her plotting in well thought through. Reading some of the comments on the site gives you a good picture. You have all these people predicting what’s going to happen next, and because of her awesome foreshadowing some actually get it right.

They discuss little bits of the world introduced through the comic like it’s some kind of religion. And the world is so thought through that you do pick things up, like the rules for prymary, or the caste system. One of the big ongoing mysteries (there are a few, and some wrapped up once you get to the latest pages) is how Duane is present mentally when all the other zombies seem to be more akin to the unthinking things we see on horror movies. We’ve had some clues, and there are several ongoing theories. People reference lines and emphasis that happened in the comic to try to work things out, and this comic is reliable enough that you can do that.

My verdict: go along to the site linked above and try the first few pages. It starts out as an adventure through a strange land with two hilariously incompatible comrades, both with mysteries we get to find out, and from there it gets richer and richer.

If you want to know what other people are saying about this comic follow this link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17372154-unsounded—volume-1

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