4 Star Books · Book Reviews · Comics/Graphic Novels · history

The Forgotten Slaves of Tromelin by Sylvain Savoia

 

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Be sure to scroll down to the bottom for my Random Question of the Review!

I want to hear all your thoughts and opinions

 

The Forgotten Slaves of Tromelin by Sylvain Savoia

Published: September 16, 2016

Publisher: Europe Comics

Pages: 123

Genres: graphic novel, comic, history

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: learning about history in a unique way, socially/culturally relevant comics, forgotten moments in history, graphic novels with a purpose

Read with food: water and be so thankful for every drop

 

Synopsis: 

This story takes place on a tiny, far-flung island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, whose nearest neighbor is Madagascar, 500 kilometers away… In 1760, the Utile, a ship carrying black slaves from Africa, was shipwrecked here and abandoned by her crew. The surviving slaves had to struggle to stay alive in this desolate land for fifteen years… When this tale got back to France, it became the cornerstone of the battle of Enlightenment to outlaw slavery. More than two hundred years later, the artist Sylvain Savoia accompanied the first archeological mission in search of understanding how these men and women, who had come from the high mountains of Madagascar, had survived alone in the middle of the ocean. This is the story of that mission, through which we’re exposed to the extraordinary story of the slaves themselves.

 

Review: 

Thank you to NetGalley, Europe Comics, and Sylvain Savoia for a copy of the comic to review. As always, an honest review.

I read the entire graphic novel in a day. By nature, they’re not too long, but since I hadn’t heard about Tromelin before I absolutely had to find out what happened to all the slaves shipwrecked on the island.

I’m not a huge fan of graphic novels and comics, because most of them are based on superheroes. Not my thing! However, when I saw this one I knew I had to read it. I first noticed the illustrations. They’re gorgeous, detailed, evocative of so many emotions, and incredibly powerful. They tell the story wonderfully. The combination of the illustrations and text makes the emotions jump off the page. I felt as if I was right there trapped on the ship with the slaves ~ tired, scared, hot, hungry.

Not too many graphic novels discuss slavery, especially a part of history that’s as forgotten as Tromelin. I certainly hadn’t heard of it before reading this. The story is told by alternating from present day scientists, journalists, archeologists, etc. excavating the site, and the historical events as they were occurring.

While the history was wonderfully done, the parts about the present day excavations were only okay. Their findings of long lost artifacts did help to complete the story. Also definitely a trigger warning for slavery, assault, abandonment, etc.

Overall, I highly recommend reading The Forgotten Slaves of Tromelin. Powerful, emotive, impactful, an important part of history that’s told through gorgeous illustrations in this graphic novel.

Random Question of the Review:

What book has opened your eyes to something new, recently? 

4 Star Books · Book Reviews · Middle Grade

Holes by Louis Sachar

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Another Random Question of the Review to start off with:

What book did you not enjoy the first time, but ended up loving as a reread?

 

Holes by Louis Sachar

Published: August 20, 1998

Publisher: Frances Foster Books ~ Scholastic for the paperback version

Pages: 240

Genres: middle grade

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: books for the whole family, life lessons, character growth, redemption

Read with food: a tall glass of ice cold water

 

Synopsis:

A miscarriage of justice sends Stanley Yelnats to a harsh juvenile detention center. While the warden claims that the hard labor that the boys are subjected to is meant to build character, it becomes clear that she is really using the boys to hunt for a fortune buried by a Wild West outlaw. The outlaw’s story and a curse put on Stanley’s great-great-grandfather are part of a compelling puzzle that has taken generations to unravel.

 

Review: 

Way back in elementary school this book was required reading for me. I absolutely hated the book. I must have understood the general concepts, because I did well on all my tests. Straight A’s, thank you very much. #nerdalert However, I didn’t truly understand the nuances of the life lessons the author was trying to accomplish with the book. So I’m really glad the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2018 encouraged me to go back and reread this assigned book that I originally hated.

As an adult, I really enjoyed Holes. I’m not really a middle grade book reader, but it’s a book that people of all ages can enjoy and learn from. The relevant concepts introduced are child labor, jails, incarceration, the unfairness of the justice system and world in general, deceitful people, learning, personal growth, precious resources, friendship, and finding strength within yourself to accomplish great things. Wow! That’s a lot of hard hitting, important life lessons al jam packed into a middle grade book. No wonder it’s so popular.

I really enjoyed Holes and recommend you give it a read or reread. If you’re a parent, Holes could be a book you group read as a family, and discuss the relevant topics. Might even help explain some of the things going on in the media today.