Castle In The Stars
“This one is Jules Verne meets Miyazaki. It’s the space race in 1869 in a kind of alternate past. … When you see the book itself, it’s this big, oversized object with this incredible watercolor comics style, and it’s this really big, epic, sweeping story of a boy following in his mother’s discovery and then opening up the solar system, but in the age of the 1800s. It’s got a kind of steampunk but also a kind of young, classic children’s story feel to it.”
Paperback, 64 pages
Published September 12th 2017 by First Second
This graphic novel will appeal to all the ages. The title The Castle In The Stars, actually refers to the German "Neuschwanstein" castle in Bavaria. And this is where the true space race of 1869 takes place.
The secret lies in the Aether, a substance that is well known, but hard to come by. Seraphin's mother, a fearless entrepreneur, prepares for a hot air balloon ascend of the highest measure in history, in 1868. Unfortunately, things don't go so well, and her logbook was found a year later without her.
Seraphin and his father try to go about their business without mother until a mysterious letter arrives by mail. It is directing them to come to the Castle of the Swans in Bavaria if they want to have the logbook. But at the train station on the day they are about to leave, some secretive men try to intervene their departure and make them go to Berlin. Seraphin's father is quick to act, and they get away narrowly escaping the danger. The question is, why was someone trying to divert them? What is the importance of the logbook?
This novel is beautifully imagined with actual characters of history. King Ludwig, Sissi and other side kiks bring this era back in a charming yet futuristic way. The illustrations are beautiful, the adventure is engaging and the novel ends on a cliffhanger! How can you not want to read more. I have no idea how it will continue, but I am staying tuned for book 2 :)