21 July 2014

BOOK REVIEW: The Grand Duke by Yann & Romain Hugault

The Grand DukeThe Grand Duke by Yann & Romain Hugault
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Eastern Front during the Second World War: Oberleutnant Wulf, a young Luftwaffe pilot, is horrified by Nazi barbarism and at odds with his fallow pilots, even as he finds himself taking to the skies to fight the infamous "Night Witches" - the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, the most decorated female unit in the Soviet Air Force. 

Motivated only by his desire to return home to his daughter, Romy, Wolf tries to survive the increasingly desperate and ferious Eastern Front, while Lilya, the "Red Witch," leads her comrades against the German invaders.

This graphic novel is a mixed bag in that it's got an average plot wrapped in amazing artwork. I found myself not caring much at all about the story because I was so thoroughly absorbed by the illustrations. This isn't the first book illustrated by Romain Hugault that I've read, and I'm again blown away by the detail and realism in his art. I was able to 'feel' the action, so to speak, and it's a real shame that the story line is mediocre. It's a run of the mill WW2 fighter pilot story told about two pilots, one German and the other a Soviet woman who began her combat career as one of the famous 'Night Witches'. These brave women pilots fly their simple biplane aircraft on night raids of German positions on the Eastern Front to deprive them of sleep and generally harass. The German chap, Wulf, is not a Nazi or a follower of Hitler whereas the beautiful Russian lass Lilya is a patriotic pin-up for the Soviets. Needless to say, when they cross paths (or flight paths) things are not altogether straightforward. Overall it's okay, but had it not been for the wonderful art, I wouldn't have finished it.

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1 comment:

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