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VOYAHere is the heartbreaking story of how the Hebrews won their release from Egyptian slavery, the costs that both sides endured, and why the last Egyptian standing made sure that history would remember his name. Told in clear, large panels with economic dialogue, it will be accessible to teens interested in an unflinching examination of a desperate chapter in history and religion. It is not a story without flaws: The book's experiments in perspective (which is inconsistent), line (which is inclined to caricature), and word bubbles (which are sometimes, confusingly, located as captions), for example, have highly mixed results. That said, it is an extremely intelligent book, brutal in its portrayal of both a society that used slavery and a society that tortured its captors with a series of gruesome and devastating curses. Even the most frustrating part of the book, Pharaoh's sudden changes of heart, are well-conceived as the disastrous decisions of a man manipulated by gods and wracked with devotion to his wife, son, and friends. The art style is intentionally reminiscent of Egyptian murals (themselves an ancient form of comic book), both in the occasional use of two-dimensional drawings and the gorgeous, stone-like texture of the colors. The plot moves with inexorable tragedy toward its conclusion, but the book never reads like a catalogue of vignettes about the miseries the Egyptians and Hebrews inflicted on each other. Instead, it is a powerful, moving reconsideration of an otherwise familiar tale. It is guaranteed to provoke. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P J S G (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, definedas grades 10 to 12; Graphic Novel Format). 2005, Archaia Studios Press (96 Linwood Plaza PMB 360 Fort Lee, NJ 07631-4326), 152p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Joe Sutliff Sanders