Review: Castle in the Stars: The Space Race of 1869 by Alex Alice
by Alex Alice Series: Le Chateau des Etoiles
Published by First Second on September 2017
Genres: Graphic Novel
Pages: 64
Format: Physical Book
Source: Publisher

3.5 Stars

It’s the space race in 1869 in a kind of alternate past. … When you see the book itself, it’s this big, oversized object with this incredible watercolor comics style, and it’s this really big, epic, sweeping story of a boy following in his mother’s discovery and then opening up the solar system, but in the age of the 1800s. It’s got a kind of steampunk but also a kind of young, classic children’s story feel to it.

What drew me in was the art and what kept me going was the story.

Steampunk race to space set in the 1800s starts out with a death and begins with a chase. I loved the beautiful, whimsical art. The colors were gorgeously painted, the characters interesting to look at, pretty and beautiful. I can’t stop thinking about the art. It is just lovely.

The story builds speed, slowly. It sets the groundwork for the race and the dangers Seraphin and his father are now in, having been recruited as a planner for the project forth Prince. I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s say that there’s a lot of danger and excitement and intrigue. It’s for adults and children reminding me of classic children’s stories with fresh and exciting inventions and real peril.

That said, I’m a little let down on the characters. I didn’t get a good sense of who they were individually, when not trying to move along the plot. I feel like I wanted to know more but there wasn’t enough space to do that. And I didn’t really feel a connection to any of them. I understood their motivation, but it wasn’t until over halfway that I started to really want to know what was going to happen.

And then the ending! Really? Cliffhanger city!

It’s gorgeous art and a creative story. It laid the groundwork for the next book, and I can only imagine it will be wow.