I’m beginning to grow quite fond of Éric Corbeyran, so much so that my only options at this point are to wish that more of his work will be translated into English or to go and learn some French so I can read the rest of his stuff. My most recent read of his, a graphic novel called Okheania: The Tsunami–most unfortunately only referred to as The Tsunami on the Goodreads page for the English edition–is at a level of brilliance that I was immediately desperate for more of the story upon finishing it. And not only that, but I could definitely, and really want to, see this as an animated show in the future. I wonder if there’s anyone out there to make that dream of mine come true sooner rather than later. Illustrated by the wonderful Alice Picard, Okheania is a story that I am immensely grateful to have read and I would implore you to pick up as soon as you get the chance. Believe me when I say that you would be sorely missing out on something epic if you decide not to.
Okheania is set in one of the most fascinating world’s that I’ve ever come across, an ocean of vegetation that leaves its population forced to survive by living on giant ships that travel across its vast surface. Absolutely no one would want to sink into the deep, dark abyss below from where no one has ever survived once they’ve been sucked below. Two young boys, Jon and Jasper have always felt somewhat trapped by this existence and circumvent it by spending their days out on the leafy waves of the ocean, having the time of their lives surfing across it until one day of recklessness sends Jon sinking below and into oblivion.
So much about this story blew my mind in the most wonderful of ways. It was just so beautifully imagined and I cannot help feeling immensely jealous of the brilliance that comes from the general idea of the world in which the characters live. And not only that, but the artwork captures it so magnificently that readers cannot help feeling thoroughly immersed within it as they follow the story along. I loved the renditions of the ocean and the ships that sail across it. There’s almost a steampunk feel to some of the world when you look at the airships and the large mechanical contraptions that sail across the vegetation sea.
And then there’s the story, which leads you from a fun day of reckless surfing with two young boys and quickly to tragedy not only with Jon’s disappearance beneath the waves but with a kidnapping and the rather overzealous and slightly paranoid woman tasked with rescuing the captured young princess. Stakes are high and as events play out, Jasper grows more and more desperate to find a way to save his friend Jon despite both boys’ family’s insistence that he’s been lost forever to oblivion and the woman searching for the princess and her kidnappers puts her focus on the wrong person.
I loved so much about this story and in fact, my only complaint about the whole thing is that it felt far too episodic, leaving me with not enough story and a ridiculously long wait to find out what happens next. And I think that will always be something I find somewhat frustrating about graphic novels since many of them seem to follow this very format whereby they set up a brilliant story and then end far too soon before even a single thing is resolved. I’d definitely suggest giving this book a try when you get the chance.
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.