Bonus review this week since I don’t have to travel for gymnastics and the house is quiet this morning.
Genre: graphic novel, war fiction
Length: 136 pages
Setting: Baghdad, during an American attack in 2003
Interest: I was going through the graphic novels at one of my local libraries and picked this up because it was written by Brian K. Vaughan, who wrote Y: The Last Man that was so good I’m automatically interested in anything else he wrote.
Summary: The main characters are a pride of lions living in the Baghdad zoo, a male, two females, and a cub. U.S. bombing of the zoo allows them to escape, and they wander the streets of Baghdad, looking for food and shelter.
Final thoughts: A quick read that still manages to stick with you and make you think about freedom and escape. The lions made it out of the zoo, but were they really free? My favorite character was the old turtle who essentially said, here they go again. He’d lived in the Tigris since WWII and was not all that optimistic about the outcome of war.
I found the end sad. The lions finally are able to see the sun set on a horizon, and then are killed by American marines. Those soldiers are the only humans we see in the story, and we never see their faces.
It’s definitely not a book for kids, which is also true of Y: The Last Man. We do see a lot of violence and blood, and one scene of implied rape. Granted, the characters are animals and not humans, but it’s still not something I’d show a kid.
Finally, the illustrations were excellent. The colors (lots of oranges and yellows) put you in the desert and somewhere far from what I’m used to seeing. All the animals showed their character in the lines of their drawing. Very enjoyable book.
Title comes from: There was a pride of lions roaming Baghdad. The book is based on a true story.
Reading challenges fulfilled: none since this was a graphic novel and I’ve decided not to count those this year.
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