Publisher: Lion Forge
Author: Tony Sandoval
Released: November 20th 2018
Warning: Teeth falling out
I received a copy of Watersnakes through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Watersnakes has to be one of the most unique graphic novels I’ve read in quite some time. It’s beautifully rendered, has a fascinating and enthralling plot, and is deeply unsettling in ways I hadn’t anticipated. In retrospect I wish I had saved this for one of my Halloween reads, but what can you do?
What originally caught my attention was the striking cover for Watersnakes. I could tell just by looking at it that I was going to enjoy whatever concept was being covered here. And it was just as obvious that I was going to enjoy looking at it as much as reading it.
The title is also a unique one. I was curious that it was titled Watersnakes when it had a cover image full of women dressed for war. I knew I was going to have to read it in order to understand the full context of the story.
Warnings first: There are depictions of teeth falling out in this graphic novel. I know that the fear of losing teeth isn’t an uncommon phobia, so I wanted to warn about this first and foremost. The scenes aren’t graphic like a torture scene would be, but they are kind of painful to see (possibly more so than any other injury could have been).
I love the way the story being told unfolded. When I first started reading, I had no idea how we were going to get from the first few pages to the scene depicted on the cover. But as the story went on, I was able to see it more and more.
This graphic novel read very much like a fairy tale, in many ways. I’m not talking about the happily ever after type either, I mean the type with evil fae and witches and the like. It felt enchanting, but also had that dark and disturbing undertone that so many of us love in the Grimm tales.
It’s impossible not to adore the characters, even in the beginning when we didn’t know them that well. They’re just so charming and full of life. In many ways they’re just like any other kid would be – happy, innocent, and loving nothing more than making up their stories and playing their games. But there’s so much more to what is actually going on. I think it was the grounding in reality – how real the characters felt, that really added to the impact of the story itself.
The conclusion of Watersnakes was not one I expected, but I actually really enjoyed it. I loved that I had no idea what was going to happen next. It was unpredictable, but it also fit with the rules of the world we’ve been introduced to. In short, it was perfect.
I already mentioned above that I really enjoyed the artwork, but I just want to mention it again. The artist is exceptionally talented. It seemed like even the happier moments where nothing was really happening had an infusion of foreshadowing in them. That was likely due to the color palette and tone the artist chose, but it was still brilliantly done. The scene with the teeth is highly disturbing, and I think that’s partially because the artist did too good of a job making it look realistic. There’s more to it than that, of course, but I don’t want to give it all away.
I’m seeing other graphic novels by the same artist, but unfortunately I’m not sure how many of them have been translated to English. I hope this one sells well enough to warrant more of them getting translated – I want to read them all.