Monday, March 27, 2017

Afar, by Leila del Duca (author), Kit Seaton (illustrator)

Image Comics, April 2017

Boetema and her younger brother Inotu find themselves on their own when their father loses his job and he and their mother leave them with money and some supplies, and go off to seek work in another city. When the money runs out, fifteen-year-old Boetema gets a job, but things get complicated when she starts having strange dreams that disrupt her sleep.

It's a while before she fully realizes they're not just dreams. She has started astrally projecting into the bodies of people on other worlds, lightyears away. When she accidentally causes a man to be hurt while occupying another girl's body, she becomes determined to get back to that world and find a way to right the wrong she did. Unfortunately, she doesn't yet have that much control; she just winds up where she winds up. She needs a teacher; can she find one?
Her brother Inotu has a more conventional penchant for getting in trouble. He gets caught accidentally eavesdropping on two local businessmen plotting an illegal deal, and is soon on the run from their cyborg bodyguard. The two siblings, different as they are and in conflict as they usually are, have to cooperate in order to solve the problems they've inadvertently caused. Not knowing where their parents are or if or when they'll ever return, they set out across the desert for the city of Yopan, hoping for better prospects there.

Their troubles continue, as they make barely enough to get by, and Boetema's "dreams," still poorly controlled, get them in even more trouble when she's overheard talking in her sleep in strange languages no one knows.

The kids are both likable, interesting, and fundamentally loyal to each other, determined to help each other. Both the world they live in, and the ones Boetema visits, are colorful and interesting, and there is a coherent structure behind her astral traveling. The art is simply delightful, and really drew me in.

Recommended.

I received an advance review copy of this book, and am reviewing it voluntarily.