The 10-to-14-year-old reader will see the literal journey Ben and his friends take, and the adult will see the metaphysical one in graphic novel This Was Our Pact. Regardless which journey you see, Ryan Andrews created something darn magical.
While some of Andrews illustrations were slightly awkward for me (there is the one panel where the bear is laughing and frankly, movie Alien comparisons might not be out of place), but they always fit the mood and tone of the story. Color, or the lack of, plays an important part. Mostly there is blue and dark colors with the scattered white and yellow of light. Since the story is mostly set at night, or in dark places, this is an obvious part of the story. The text and illustrations complement each other perfectly.
The story itself is basic: every autumn the village places lanterns in the river and let them float off to the unknown. The legend has it, they travel off into the sky and become the stars. This year, Ben and his group of friends are determined to follow the lanterns to the bitter end. They make a pact: No one Turns for home. No one looks back. Yet, eventually all but Ben and “tag-along” Nathaniel, are left to travel to their goal. But that will not stop Ben. Tonight, is the night for adventure. Even if that adventure includes a talking bear, a busy witch (who might be twin to the Disney Brave witch) a giant dog, a rickety gondola boat and catching the sun.
I am not sure how to recommend this book or to whom really. Perhaps go for the obvious: if you want a story about friendship, then this is it. If you are looking for a good story, then this is it. If you are looking for a little fantasy this is it. If you are looking for something realistic this is it. After all this book is all of that and more. Magic and real intertwine: is this a real adventure or the adventure created by two very active imaginations? The how also should be aiming for the obvious.
READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!