Yvain: The Knight of the Lion

yvainby M.T. Anderson, illustrated by Andrea Offerman
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Content: There’s some violence and some more mature themes.  Plus it’s based in medieval times. It’s in the teen graphic novel section of the bookstore.

I have an affinity for all things Arthurian (or I used to at least), and so when our Candlewick rep mentioned that the new graphic novel by M. T. Anderson was based on one of the lesser known Arthurian tales, I jumped at the chance to read it.

It’s the story of one of Arthur’s knights of the round table, Yvain. He is challenged by the other knights to go find the magical spring and fight the mysterious knight that defends it. And so Yvain does. And defeats the knight. Which widows the knight’s wife, and sets off an… interesting chain of events. Which includes Yvain falling for the wife, her maid falling for Yvain, Yvain marrying the wife, a year-long bout of jousting in which Yvain forgets he has a wife, an exile in the forest, and then tricking the wife (with the help of the maid) into taking him back.

Definitely an Arthurian tale. It’s odd, to say the least.

The art by Andrea Offermann, however, is stunning. She tries to play up the role of the women (which isn’t much, considering this is a Medieval story) but she also manages to capture the era — both the renaissance faire feel as well as the seedy, realistic underbelly — as well.

Did I like it? Kind of. It was good enough to finish, but wasn’t enough to wow my socks off.

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