The Daughters of Ys by M.T. Anderson

Ys is an island of Celtic legend that is defended by a magical wall built by the late queen. Now it is up to the Malgven and Rozenn, daughters of Queen Malgven. As different as these sisters are, they must protect the city from prowling monsters and their own expectations. Torn apart by their own grief and reactions to their mother’s death… the ultimate solution is both liberating and disquieting.

Every time I pick up a retelling of an ancient story like this, I am reminded that they have lasted for hundreds of years on their own by word of mouth. These stories provided lessons for the Celtic people and they can still be entertainment and give insight into the human condition for people today. Having read several of Anderson’s past stories, I know he has a great ability to pace his stories so well and add those little details that make characters come alive.

And the graphic part of this graphic novel… Outstanding. Watch the video below to see Rioux in action. The lines provide the effect of constant movement and has a ethereal, fairy tale quality. The backgrounds of the sea and changing sky blew me away. They paired beautifully with the internal conflicts of the characters.

Two videos to take a look at when considering this book:

The trailer from FirstSecond.
Sketch School with Jo Rioux

I would recommend this book for upper grades (11/12) and any adult interested in fairy tales because of some bloody gore and references to sex. Beautiful artwork and a compelling story of strength and resiliency make this an excellent read.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley, FirstSecond, and the authors for a copy for review.

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