Hasib and the Queen of Serpents: A Tale of a Thousand and One Nights by David B.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Diamond Distributors
Published: June 2018
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Adventure, Magic
Heir to the wise Daniel, Hâsib is a young woodcutter promised to a great future. When his greedy companions abandon him in the middle of the forest, he meets the Queen of Serpents. She then tells her story, a fabulous adventure filled with gods and demons, princes and prophets. From Kabul to Cairo, journeys intertwine with intrigues and spiritual quests while the fabulous nights follow one another. An enchanting and intricately designed interpretation of the story of Hâsib Karîm ad-Dîm, through which David B. opens for us the gates of the Thousand and One Nights. For mature readers.
Well, I just really didn’t like this graphic novel. This is surprising to me, because I’m usually very easy on graphic novels, but only if I’m able to understand and follow the story.
I couldn’t follow this one. It’s a story within a story within a story within a story. I’m not even exaggerating. It starts with a girl telling the story of an old man, then of the old man’s son, then of the Serpent-Queen, then of other characters.
In the end, they do all come together in a way, but it’s sincerely unsatisfying. I’m sure this is personal preference. Some people will probably find the story unique and intriguing, but I found it unnecessarily convoluted and I doubt a lot of the content. I haven’t read all the original Tales of a Thousand and One Nights, but I felt as though a lot was left unsaid.
There’s also the characters. Because so many are being discussed, it’s hard to grow attached to them. Many are villains – some antiheroes. The ‘‘hero,’’ of this story – Hâsib – is actually not that important. He only features in like 20 or so pages, whereas the others have more page time. I also find that he makes such stupid decisions, so I could not connect to him.
I did like the illustrations. I thought they fit the atmosphere of these stories and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this art style in the past. There is then originality in the art, and there were some parts from the story I actually enjoyed, so I will not give this graphic novel less than two stars, but I am highly disappointed, especially since NBM published this and they don’t publish many books per year, so I have high hopes every time they do.
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