A Flight of Angels by Holly Black, Bill WIllingham, Alisa Kwitney, Louise Hawkes, and ToddMitchell
Published: November 8th 2011 by Vertigo
Source: local library
Synopsis (Goodreads): The diverse mythology of angels is explored in this lushly painted graphic novel from high-profile fantasy authors including Holly Black (The Spiderwick Chronicles) and Bill Willingham (FABLES). Deep in the woods outside of a magical kingdom, a strange group of faeries and forest creatures discover a nearly dead angel, bleeding and unconscious with a sword by his side. They call a tribunal to decide his fate, each telling stories that delve into different interpretations of these winged, celestial beings: tales of dangerous angels, all-powerful angels, guardian angels and death angels, that range from the mystical to the mysterious to the macabre.
My thoughts: With gorgeous illustrations and a compelling story, this is easily my favorite of all the graphic novels I have (thus far) read.
No fewer than 5 people read this while I had it checked out. Mister BS loved it. My sister loved it. My friend pointed out that Rebecca Guay is known for illustrating magic cards, and he and his girlfriend loved it.
The story opens as a group of magical creatures discover a wounded angel in the forest. Because they are unsure of what to do about the angel, several of the assembled creatures offer a story about angels as testimony on their nature so the tribunal can determine its fate.
I always love the idea of frame stories, and this one is well-executed. Each tale presents a different version of angels, and each is unique and fascinating. Each story told within the frame was left open to interpretation and seemed to only hint at deeper meaning, which fit the theme well.
I’m a fan of stories that explore angel mythology, so I was drawn to the subject matter. I especially liked the twist on the classic interpretation of Adam and Eve. The ending managed to surprise me, and that’s always a welcome reading experience for me.
The artwork is lush and detailed, so even if angels aren’t your thing, any fantasy lover will likely enjoy the drawings. They are detailed and each story features a unique style. While tasteful, there is some mild nudity, so I might not suggest it to younger teens or those who I know have more conservative parents or are averse to that kind of thing, but feel it’s generally appropriate. (And I include this personal assessment not because I think it’s a big deal, but because people often use Google search terms that lead me to believe they are looking for this type of information, so I figure I might as well include it).
The text is sparse, and there is always a clear distinction between in story and frame story text, so even as a novice graphic novel reader, I didn’t get confused. This is a great introduction to graphic novels for those curious about the form but looking for something that isn’t about superheroes.
I’m really glad I’ve given a number of various graphic novels a try recently. It’s not a genre I was well-versed in when I started working at the library, but because of it’s enormous popularity with teen patrons, it’s really something I’ve felt I should explore. Drama, My Friend Dahmer, and A Flight of Angels have all been great books that have surprised me.
This is a huge reason I’m so glad I’ve been participating in The Hub Challenge. It’s really pushed me outside my comfort zone and guided me towards excellent books I might not have noticed otherwise. It’s certainly helping me with reader’s advisory questions! If you’re not well versed in graphic novels (or any particular genre/category), the YALSA lists are a great place to start if your looking to expand your own horizons or learn more about anything YA.
Recommended for fans of:
The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff
Angelology and Angelopolis by Danielle Trussoni
Heidi at Bunbury in the Stacks: “A Flight of Angels, conceived and illustrated by Rebecca Guay, is one of the most hauntingly beautiful graphic novels I have encountered to date. Perfect for readers looking to enter or ease into the genre, the story is captured in one compact volume composed using the work of well-known young adult and graphic authors.”
Erika at Girls Gone Geek: “Conceived and illustrated by Rebecca Guay, A Flight of Angels is a visually stunning graphic novel that draws the reader into a world of mythical creatures and fanciful tales. Angels are often thought of as divine protectors or avengers, but this book offers a complex portrait on the heavenly beings.”