Early Book Review: Castle in the Stars: The Space Race of 1869 by Alex Alice

Castle in the Stars: The Space Race of 1869 by Alex Alice is a graphic novel currently scheduled for release on September 12 2017.  It was originally published in 2014 in French. In search of the mysterious element known as aether, Claire Dulac flew her hot air balloon toward the edge of our stratosphere—and never returned. Her husband, genius engineer Archibald Dulac, is certain that she is forever lost. Her son, Seraphin, still holds out hope. One year after her disappearance, Seraphin and his father are delivered a tantalizing clue: a letter from an unknown sender who claims to have Claire’s lost logbook. The letter summons them to a Bavarian castle, where an ambitious young king dreams of flying the skies in a ship powered by aether. But within the castle walls, danger lurks—there are those who would stop at nothing to conquer the stars.

Castle in the Stars: The Space Race of 1869 is a graphic novel that caught my attention first with the water color style artwork, and then kept my attention with the steam punk or alternative history style story. It manages to have the feel of a children's story, while still being entirely appealing to teens and adults as well. This historical fantasy includes a coming of age story with challenging family dynamics and the adventure of travelling to space via the aether in 1869 rather than our technology in 1969. The artwork is simply beautiful, and worth exploring even without the story. Readers that get bogged down in text or history rich stories might struggle a bit with this read, however I think the artwork and adventure of the story balances that out nicely. My only complaint is one that is common in many books, that it seemed to end at the more interesting point, and I was left wanting so much more.

Castle in the Stars: The Space Race of 1869 is a graphic novel that I can recommend to children through adults. I am very glad that this was translated into English so that I could enjoy it.
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