by Kristin Alexandre; Illustrated by Tom Loepp
Pub. date: April 15, 2012
Book received from: Author
Nuncio and the Gypsy Girl is not your typical graphic novel. There are several historical figures, a love triangle, and no action-driven plotline. It is also narrated by an African Grey Parrot named Nuncio. Taking place at the turn of the century in Dayton, OH, the characters are right in the middle of the making of many great inventions, and intellectual society.
Which brings us to the gypsy girl- Neci- who is at the center of the story. She is a young woman who is coming of age and is convinced of a love between her and Ezra, a composer with big dreams. After leaving Neci in order to follow a path to what will hopefully be his success, Neci tracks him down- only to find him with another woman.
At this point, it becomes clear that the two women will be vying for the affection of Ezra for a good part of the story. The question remaining is: who will win, or will either? If Marlene, the “other woman” has her way, Neci will be completely taken out of the picture when she arranges for her to be put in harm’s way. Will Marlene’s plan be successful, or will Neci find her way back into Ezra’s heart?
While this graphic novel (the first in a three-part series) is not a thrilling page-turner, it does supply a lot of historical insight into the time. With the placement of many key historical figures and events, there is a certain quality that makes the characters seem very real. The storyline will hopefully pick up pace a bit in the next two installments, to allow a greater growth of the characters and their struggles.
At first, Nuncio and the Gypsy Girl takes a bit to get an understanding and focus on the drawing style. However, after the first few pages, the washed-out, slightly dark colors become clearer as one gets used to them. There is also a feeling of uncertainty that may be felt in the first half of the book, as to where exactly the story is going and what it is about. But, the wanting to know will keep you reading until the end.
If one is wanting a graphic novel that has a superhero, or something like Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, Nuncio is not it. However, the realism and accuracy of the characters and the intrigue of the Gilded Age is enough to find an audience with readers who may not otherwise explore a graphic novel. That being said, it will be interesting to discover what will happen to Neci and her companions- even if it is a parrot telling us the story.
This book can be purchased at Amazon.com, as well as your local independent bookseller.
For more about this series, go the website here.
[This review is also published at LLBook Review]