Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Last Man: The Stranger Book Review

Last Man: The Stranger by Bastien Vivès, Balak, and Michaël Sanlaville

Review by Lauren

Source: copy for review; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: The Games are already underway when Richard Aldana arrives in town. This mysterious stranger seems to have more in common with our world than the world where the Games are held. He smokes cigarettes and wears a leather jacket while everyone else in this medieval realm is casting spells and weaving tapestries. Nobody knows what to make of him, but when Aldana enrolls in the games he quickly becomes a top contender. Eschewing magic and using only his martial arts prowess, Aldana also befriends and protects a small boy for reasons as mysterious as his origins.
Who will win the games? Who is Richard Aldana, really? And what is the ultimate purpose of this gruelling gladiatorial contest?

Review: This book, and its soon to be released sequels, were originally published in France. Once they became popular, they were translated into English and are now being released here. When looking up the summary for this book, I saw people describe this as a manga (Japanese comic). I’ve only read one manga, so I’m no expert, but I was a bit surprised to read that. I figured I’d mention it for those interested though.

In general, this was a curious graphic novel. It focuses on 11-year old Adrian who is training to fight in a martial arts competition, except most people use powers like summoning wind instead of their fists. This is what makes Richard Aldana truly interesting to the people in this town. He comes from seemingly nowhere, partners up with Adrian, and begins to win battle after battle with his bodily strength alone. Adrian tries to help by always fighting first, but he never wins. If not for Aldana, he would have been eliminated from the game after the first fight. But this is a partner’s competition, and Aldana does do his best to help teach Adrian.

There isn’t a lot of backstory, and it’s something that keeps readers a little confused while reading. I assume most of this will be revealed later though, like the summary states. Why are these games happening? Who is Aldana really? I’m definitely curious to know more, though Last Man: The Stranger was definitely not my most favorite graphic novel. It’s interesting, nonetheless, and I love books from other countries.


Krazzyme(Young Readers) said...

I like graphic novels, so I'll check it out. Thanks for the review :)

Melliane said...

Really? it's French? I've never heard about them

Tracy Terry said...

I'm wondering how much the books being translated contributed to that confusion. Perhaps not at all but I've just finished a book translated from the Spanish that though well translated did make for confusing reading at times as the translator used words that somehow didn't read quite right.

Blogoratti said...

Nice review, and the book might just be lost in translation really. Many thanks for sharing.

Kindlemom said...

Yeah this might be something that was lost in translation but then again, maybe book two explains it all? Either way, if you continue the series I hope you get all the answers you need!

Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings said...

It is nice that you took a chance on a translated book, but I think your struggles probably were due to the translation.

Diva Booknerd said...

No backstory? Usually that would be included within the first book which makes me wonder if maybe in France, readers know more about the series beforehand perhaps? Or like another comment suggested, maybe it was lost in translation. You really do need those type of why and what questions answers, because even with graphic novels that's a bit too hard to follow. Hopefully if you continue, book two will provide those much needed answers. Wonderful review Lauren <3 thanks for sharing hun.

Lindy Gomez said...

I think it's neat that you experienced reading a com in from another country. It does sound a bit confusing, but I'm glad that you enjoyed it overall.

Lindy@ A Bookish Escape