I once was talking to a coworker about a book I read and liked but the way I described it was that I had never loved and hated a book so much in my life. It was amazing, but I was mentally-physically ill while reading as the emotions were so great. It was not an easy read, to say the least.
And while I cannot say I loved and hated Lily the Thief that extremely, it did create an experience that I felt strongly. I was not a fan of Lily as a character (especially at first). Lily is a spoiled, selfish, orphan kid. She is a hyped-up-shero meets street urchin. She does not understand why the Thieves Guild does not want to take a chance on her. Basically, it boils down to she feels they are being “big meanies” about it. She follows the rules (a complex set of rules that thieves can be severely punished for if broken) and is a good thief. Yet, of course, she gets in over her head, people die, prophecies come to light and there is blood. Lots of it. While aimed at ages 10 to 14, I would not give to a sensitive reader. More than one character tries to kill Lily, more than one character has its throat sliced and more than one character has been turned into undead-ghost-zombie-creatures.
It must be one odd world inside of Janne Kukkonen’s head.
But eventually, all the clues come to line up. People are willing to do anything for power, money and control. Once I started to realize, “oh that was not an accident” I started to see a story that is strong, detailed, modern and classic. Twists create a flow to the plot and all stories start to show how the overlap and intertwine. The busy illustrations start to also fall into place and you see that details are needed, not just fillers. There are interesting color patterns and themes and need to be read as well as text. Both complement each other.
By the end I liked Lily the character, not the person. I liked the story. I even got over the “gross factors” (the blood, the crazy creatures). The lack of colors of course, only sets the mood for a Medieval European world; another world element. And, like most graphic novels, few if any details are left to chance. It is important to pay attention to everything that’s going on. Your life might depend on it.