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Yvain: The Knight of the Lion by M. T.…

Yvain: The Knight of the Lion

by M. T. Anderson, Andrea Offermann (Illustrator)

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
YVAIN: THE KNIGHT OF THE LION by M.T. Anderson is a graphic novel set in the world of King Arthur’s court.
Based on Chrétien de Troyes’ 12th century epic poem, Sir Yvain is a knight who encounters two women who are each powerful in their own way. Sword fights and battles with dragons provide balance to this medieval romance. The book concludes with an excellent author’s note and illustrator’s note detailing the background and inspiration for the book.
Librarians will find teens who enjoy medieval stories and graphic novels drawn to both the story and the illustrations. Fans of M.T. Anderson will be happy to see him embracing the graphic novel format. Graphic novel lovers will enjoy the sophisticated graphics and well-illustrated story. Teachers may wish to weave this graphic novel into a literature course.
Published by Candlewick on March 14, 2017. ARC courtesy of the publisher. ( )
  eduscapes | Oct 30, 2017 |
This book is a little bit lacking. It's a decent enough graphic novel, though I found it difficult to understand the progression of images sometimes (character similarity, symbolic images). But both writer M.T. Anderson and illustrator Andrea Offermann include short essays describing their goals and inspirations for the book - which are lofty and great and I felt like weren't very successfully handled with the book I had just finished.

I'm not very fond of the sketchy style Offermann used, especially on the faces, which all looked nearly identical to me. In some parts, it strongly resembles medieval tapestries or other art, especially when she attempts more stylized renderings, and is great. But with that medieval tapestry influence, the colors are almost entirely shades of red, brown, gold, and brownish-green with blue used sparingly to highlight specific people or features. I've seen this sort of color scheme done much better elsewhere - here, everything muddies up. Many of the action sequences flow without words at all, so that I had a very difficult time reading the panels.

I enjoy medieval legends and epics, but was mostly confused and tired by the effort it took to read this - and not the confused/tired that results from plodding through dense text with a feeling of success and enlightenment when it's worked out.

It's a shame that the work of reading Yvain was so frustrating, because the essays from Anderson and Offermann sound like a book I would love to read! And, I have enjoyed their work elsewhere before. ( )
1 vote keristars | Oct 29, 2017 |
I respect the truthful retelling of this ancient story. However, I can't help but fell appalled at the horrific truth of women's positions throughout. ( )
  lissabeth21 | Oct 3, 2017 |
Literary Merit: Great
Characterization: Great
Reading Level: High School
Recommended: Highly Recommended

When most people think of the Arthurian legends, they imagine a world of noble knights, fair maidens, and grand adventures. Anderson returns to Chretien de Troyes' original works to rediscover the bitter ironies present in a classic tale of love and hatred. Readers will be treated to shallow knights, intelligent women, and brutally violent contests of swordplay. Andrea Offermann’s gorgeous art is reminiscent of the Bayeux Tapestry and other medieval works, and her knack for portraying raw emotions brings depth and richness to Anderson’s work. Author’s and illustrator’s notes at the end of the book are a must-read. ( )
  SWONroyal | Aug 26, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Before reading this graphic novelization of Chretien de Troyes's narrative, I reread "Yvain, or the Knight of the Lion," which I'd not done since studying it in Medieval Lit about ten years ago. I remembered vaguely that it was one of the fringe Arthurian romances and that it was the one where the lion randomly joins up with the hero, but otherwise, I didn't remember much. While rereading, I remembered a bit more about this story, one of the intriguing sort that at once create and satirize the chivalric ideal, so I was curious about what Anderson and Offermann would do with the story.

For the most part, the storyline and even the dialogue hew closely to the original; in his author's note, Anderson indicates this was intentionally the case and credits the translations he used, which is very nice. There are a few places where the story is noticeably abridged (such as Yvain's recovery from madness and the search for the mysterious "Knight of the Lion" by the disinherited sister and her messenger), but for the most part, all the important incidents follow the original in dialogue and action. In addition, the art clearly follows medieval conventions when feasible (hurrah for narrative tapestries!), and as the artist's note indicates, the dress and some symbolism of color and animals was also followed. So as a one-time student of medieval literature, I really appreciated this intentional emphasis on the fascinating original story and the richly textured art and material culture of the era.

The one criticism I have is perhaps unavoidlably the result of the translation from one medium to another: in attempting to depict the satire and complicated sympathies of the original, the graphic novel presents a much more cut-and-dried reading of the story and characters. To avoid spoilers, I won't go into detail, but there are more than a few points in the story where the text of the original suggests that the hero and other male characters are overlooking important elements in their interactions, especially with the many various women they encounter, whose speeches and actions often appear to belie their actual feelings towards the men. This sort of thing makes for fascinating literary reading, as the story can either be read as a straightforward adventure story or as a tongue-in-cheek tale or even as pointed social criticism. In the graphic novelization, these options are flattened out, mostly because the art dramatically heightens that male/female disconnection and emphasizes the darker undercurrents that de Troyes leaves possible but not necessary. I sympathize with the reading and think it's a valid interpretation, but it'd be unfortunate if this were the only version of the story that a reader became familiar with, as the interplay between possible interpretations and emotions in the original is more richly satisfying.
1 vote InfoQuest | Jun 25, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
I strongly recommend this fast-paced text to mature middle school and high school readers. It has a worthy place in a school library and could be easily included in any unit that covers medieval Europe, myth, heroes, or Arthurian legends

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anderson, M. T.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Offermann, AndreaIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0763659398, Hardcover)

In his first graphic novel, National Book Award winner M. T. Anderson turns to Arthurian lore, with captivating art by Andrea Offermann bringing the classic legend to life.

Eager for glory and heedless of others, Sir Yvain sets out from King Arthur’s court and defeats a local lord in battle, unknowingly intertwining his future with the lives of two compelling women: Lady Laudine, the beautiful widow of the fallen lord, and her sly maid Lunette. In a stunning visual interpretation of a 12th century epic poem by Chrétien de Troyes, readers are — at first glance — transported into a classic Arthurian romance complete with errant knights, plundering giants, and fire-breathing dragons. A closer look, however, reveals a world rich with unspoken emotion. Striking, evocative art by Andrea Offermann sheds light upon the inner lives of medieval women and the consequences Yvain’s oblivious actions have upon Laudine and Lunette. Renowned author M. T. Anderson embraces a new form with a sophisticated graphic novel that challenges Yvain’s role as hero, delves into the honesty and anguish of love, and asks just how fundamentally the true self can really change.

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 27 Dec 2016 09:46:17 -0500)

"Eager for glory and heedless of others, Sir Yvain sets out from King Arthur's court and defeats a local lord in battle, unknowingly intertwining his future with the lives of two compelling women: Lady Laudine, the beautiful widow of the fallen lord, and her sly maid Lunette" -- provided by publisher.… (more)

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