Lars is shut away with his family in their grand palace for three years while winter rages outside. Lars is dying of an illness. Everything’s not so bad, though. There are his siblings to play with, books to read, and his giant cat Nemo for company. Every once in a while he feels sad, because when he dies, he’ll leave his twin sister Maja behind. But Maja seems to be leaving him, too. She’s been acting strangely… in fact, the whole household has. This winter, the stir-crazy is getting too much. Lies and secrets are revealed. Will the winter winds blow out their family, or can they weather the storm?

I was not really a fan of this one. I picked it up because this is Tillie Walden’s first graphic novel. She is the author and illustrator of Spinning, which I loved! Her art was just as lovely – if anything, better than Spinning, which came later. There was a lot of intricate architectural work, which is very ambitious for any artist to take on, but Walden makes it look easy. The space often dwarfs the characters, which speaks to their isolation and disconnect from one another.

However, the story was seriously lacking. It felt more like a draft of a story than a finished product. A lot of it is left open, leaving the reader to fill in the gaps. This can work to an extent, but here, too much was left open and I found myself lost. Perhaps I missed something or wasn’t paying enough attention! However, I didn’t think the writing was strong enough to work with this type of storytelling. The illustrations were beautiful, so I was happy enough just looking =P

– Kathleen

Walden, Tillie. The End of Summer. 2015.