This one’s a peculiar little science-fiction story, not only because it takes place in the Middle East and in France, but in that it revolves around the disappearance of notable architecture and art. And not just little pieces, either: chunks are surgically removed from buildings in what appears to be a random fashion. Our two protagonists happen to be journalists who got the scoop on this happening and end up at the centre of it all.
I quite like the story because it’s quite different from many graphic novels: it’s reality-based with regards to its characters, but it adds a touch of surreal sci-fi in the middle of it. It’s not unlike ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’, in that respect. Except that it’s not pure genius, like the latter.
The storytelling is mostly fluid and it hold the suspense relatively well, but there is a moment in the book where I wondered if some pages were missing. I kept going back and forth between pages trying to figure out where I had missed out on some information, but it was nowhere to be found; somewhere in the writing/editing process, some things were taken for granted, but they were only obvious to the authors.
The main issue, for me, however, was the explanation and the wrap-up: I couldn’t buy into it one bit and I found it to be a total let-down. What was mystifying until those final pages turned into nothing more than pseudo-science and it all wound down far too quickly considering the turn of events; it required something more elaborate and substantial.
Be that as it may, it’s still a good read. The art is realistic and well-conceived (if strangely lacking in depth perception) and the premise is intriguing enough to over-ride what flaws there may be along the way. And one of the pleasant things about this book, compared to its brethren, is that it’s a complete novella – it doesn’t leave us hanging until the next instalment.