Author: Tim Probert
Rating: 5/5 stars
Deep in the heart of the planet Irpa stands the Salty Pig’s House of Tonics & Tinctures, home of the wise Pig Wizard and his adopted granddaughter, Bea. As keepers of the Endless Flame, they live a quiet and peaceful life, crafting medicines and potions for the people of their once-prosperous world.
All that changes one day when, while walking through the woods, Bea meets Cad, a member of the Galdurians, an ancient race thought to be long-extinct. Cad believes that if anyone can help him find his missing people, it’s the Pig Wizard.
But when the two arrive home, the Pig Wizard is nowhere to be found—all that’s left is the Jar of Endless Flame and a mysterious note. Fearing for the Pig Wizard’s safety, Bea and Cad set out across Irpa to find him, while danger fights its way out of the shadows and into the light.
Will these two unexpected friends find the beloved Pig Wizard and prevent eternal darkness from blanketing their world? Or has Irpa truly seen its last sunrise?
I think this might be my very first graphic novel (and thus review), and I absolute loved every moment of it. I picked it up on a whim in an independent bookstore during a road trip one day because I was so attracted to the cover. When I flipped it opened and was introduced to the multitude of blazing autumnal colors and snippets of of the world-building, I was absolutely sold. I knew I had to get it! I was just so smitten by the art and colors. I couldn’t help myself, and without even reading the synopsis, I went straight to the counter to purchase it. To my delight, the cashier greeted me with: “It’s a really good one! The artwork and colors are just so beautiful, and so is the story.”. Once I purchased it, I practically devoured the whole thing in a few sittings, even though I so badly wanted to savor everything.
The tale of Bea and Cad is a great coming of age story in the world of Irpa. There are amazing depictions of anxiety in the story, which was also interpreted through Probert’s artwork. Bea is very relatable, and for a first installment, her character arc has already developed beautifully. The story is heartwarming, and the world-building is wonderful. You get a sense of the whimsical aspects of Irpa as we follow along the duo’s journey – It is really quite the experience! Each page kept me smiling widely. I could almost smell the delicious vegan omelette and taste the yummy honey scrolls from reading the story. I felt so inspired by it and the themes that the book just stayed with me for days. I wanted to revisit it again right after finishing it!
Honestly, if you are looking for a charming story with beautiful illustrations and color palettes, look no further! I cannot emphasise enough how happy looking at the artwork makes me feel. I am just such a sucker for fantastical-camp concepts where we get to see the supplies that are brought along for the adventure, the food and trinkets discovered along the way, and meeting new characters throughout the journey too. In case I do not already sound like a broken record, the book is full of color and wonder and charm.
I recommend this graphic novel with all my heart! One of my favorite reads ever, no doubt. I absolutely cannot wait for the release of the second installment!