Timo the Adventurer is, to say the least, an odd book. The theme is mostly obvious with the question of “What a hero truly is” as its main point. However, there are also the themes of learning to trust others; asking for help; giving help; learning to forgive others along with yourself and learning from your mistakes. Jonathan Garnier crafted a book that might appeal to most kids ages 8 to 12 (or young 13). There is action, fantasy violence and even the tiniest bit of thriller. Magic and realism mix to make a familiar, but also new, adventure.
Yohan Sacre’s illustrations are quirky. They are not unpleasant to view, but sometimes feel a bit “unfinished” with the lack of color or the fact minimal colors can saturate the page. The details rang from middle amounts to busy. However, sometimes not all the information needed in them is there, other times without the art, you would not be able to piece together the storylines.
Some areas can be a bit slow whereas other areas are fast paced. There are few, if any natural breaks to allow for a pause in reading (when Timo writes in his journal, this could be a place to take a breath). Even though it was translated from the French, the story, and certainly the illustrations, have a slight Scandinavian feeling to them. By this I mean there is an old school or old world feeling but it is presented in a modern way. Partly this modern is due to the people and creatures shown. There is a variety of species and races of people. And while the main character is male, there are several strong female characters. However, the fact the world of Timo and the other characters does not have one country or culture that overwhelms it, making it a generic (though slightly medieval) fantasy world.
Overall, Timo is an experience that not everyone is going to enjoy, but one that as an adult you experience it based on your own background coming into it. I think the aimed age group will be less judgmental with it and take it for what it is: a new fantasy graphic novel.
PS: For images I like the non-American covers better, so using them. But the bear is from the book I read (I just liked the bear!) The girl is from a French version, but liked how it looked.