Book Review: Billy Fog Volume 1: The Gift of Trouble Sight by Guillaume Bianco

Billy Fog Volume 1: The Gift of Trouble Sight by Guillaume Bianco is a graphic novel that is twisted and dark, but still somehow sweet. Billy Fog is a smart kid, with a great imagination, that just happens to have a dark view of the world. When he removes his glasses, Billy believes that he can see the hidden things of the world; ghosts, ghouls, vampires, and more. He calls this ability the "Trouble Sight". When his cat dies suddenly Billy goes in search of answers. This volume includes his search for answers, even those not directly related to his cat. Encyclopedic entries, poetry, and his own versions of spooky fables fill the pages as Billy ponders the meaning and reality of death.  A second volume of this series is scheduled for release on July 9 2013.

Billy Fog Volume 1: The Gift of Trouble Sight left me with mixed feelings. I really loved the artwork, and could see the influence by Tim Burton and Edward Gorey throughout the book. There are very deep moments about life and death in the book, with artwork that matches the mood and meaning perfectly. I enjoyed it. However, I do not think I would share it with my son. I certainly would not recommend it for you children, or those of any age with younger siblings. This is certainly for adults, teens, and maybe some mature tweens, but not younger readers.

Billy is a smart, if a little morbid, boy. That I have no issue with, however he also lashes out often and is just mean to other people and animals- alive or dead. While he does confess that he loves his little sister and write a letter to Santa Claus, his impulse to be mean seem to regularly outweigh any other emotions he might have. While this makes for moments of drama, entertainment, and revelation, it is not something I want to encourage in my son or other children.

Billy Fog Volume 1: The Gift of Trouble Sight is a work with great artistic merit and an interesting read. I am interested enough that I will be taking a peek at Billy Fog Volume 2: The Boy Who No Longer Believed in Santa Claus when it comes out this summer. However, I do recommend sticking to the twelve and older target group, and avoiding if already depressed.
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