I’m not even going to bother trying to come up with a wittier post title. I’m just going to go right into gushing about this series. [Spoilers ahead, though I’ll try to keep them minimal.]
After hearing so many good things about Saga by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples, I had to check it out. It’s certainly an adult graphic novel, and made that abundantly clear from the very start with explicit content and generous amounts of swearing. That’s not the kind of thing that turns me off when done right, and Saga does it right. Everything that this series does is done to enhance the story or deepen the characters, and I fell in love with so many of those characters right from the start. Alana, Hazel and Marko are my favorites, but Gwendolyn, Izabel, Klara, Sophie, The Will, The Brand, and Lying Cat all hold special places in my heart.
Not Prince Robot IV, though. Screw that guy.*
Fiona Staples art for this series is really beautiful. Her style is both complex and simple at the same time, and the expressions her characters make… Love them. That paired with I think is some great writing completely drew me in, and I’m anxiously awaiting Volume 6.
Saga is another interesting blend of science fiction and fantasy. There are some elements of it that seem remarkably tame for the genre, like two different species having either horns or wings as their defining characteristics, which isn’t something that would scream originality. There’s so much more within this series, however, that is wonderfully original, and that’s always been a huge draw for me. I love when imaginations get to run wild.
My only real complaint about Saga is that I’m not 100% thrilled with the Robot Kingdom storyline. It’s important to the overall universe and Alana and Marko’s stories, but I’m just not as drawn in by them as I am the others. Though, I will say, I mourned Princess Robot and wish she had stuck around a bit longer, and then, several pages later I burst out laughing when King Robot made his huge, dramatic entrance. And I do say huge for a reason…
I did not love Volumes 4 & 5 as much as I did 1-3. Vol. 4 is so different from the others, trading wild space travel for domestic life and strife, but it’s the book that goes far deeper into the not-so-great side of Alana and Marko’s relationship, and that is important. By the end of Vol. 4, I’d fallen in love with Marko in particular all over again, and more than anything, I wanted him and Alana to move past this difficult time and come out stronger for it. Then Dengo showed up. Man, did he just unleash a hellstorm on my darlings or what.
I think Volume 5 didn’t resonate as much with me as the earliest installments did due to the Robots getting far more of the spotlight than I would have liked to have seen, but it was a return to the space-faring adventure that I love so much, and I got to learn more about The Brand.
At least, I did until a dragon ate half of her.
Which was an outrage.
Screw that dragon.**
I really loved The Brand. I wanted her to be around. That was denied to me, and it felt too soon. Maybe that was because I was so pulled in by this series that I read Volumes 3, 4, and 5 within a span of three days (yeah, one a day, right before bed), and I didn’t allow myself to slow down and savor what I had read. I’m still upset about it, though. It knocked a whole star of my Goodreads rating for Volume 5. I’m petty like that, apparently. (Though if you want a legitimate critique, Volume 5 did have a bit of a death saturation problem, with several characters being killed off in this single volume before they experienced a full arc. It got to the point where it was a bit too much, nature of this series aside.)
As I’ve said, though, I’m really looking forward to Volume 6, and not just because of the cliffhanger that is the end of Volume 5. Saga is a breathtaking, engaging series, one that’s easy to dive headfirst into, and I cannot wait to see where else it goes.
*My animosity towards him stems more from the fact that he is slowly but surely destroying everyone and everything that I love in this series than anything else, and I shudder to think who he’ll take from me next. He’s an excellent antagonistic character, much as I can’t stand him. Make no mistake, he very much holds his own as far as compelling characters go. He’s that guy I love to hate, and I begrudge every second I spent rooting for him in Volume 5 as he tried to get his newborn son back.
**And THAT is something that I do not say lightly. I have to reaaaaaaally dislike a dragon to have this kind of response.