Spooky and Strange Celtic Retelling || ARC Review: The Daughters of Ys

Need something eerie and strange and different? Yeah, I did too.

Title: The Daughters of Ys
Author: M.T. Anderson & Jo Rioux
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: Aug 11, 2020
Genres: YA Fantasy Retelling

I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Official Synopsis

An Atlantis-like city from Celtic legend is the setting of The Daughters of Ys, a mythical graphic novel fantasy from National Book Award winner M. T. Anderson and artist Jo Rioux.

Ys, city of wealth and wonder, has a history of dark secrets. Queen Malgven used magic to raise the great walls that keep Ys safe from the tumultuous sea. But after the queen’s inexplicable death, her daughters drift apart. Rozenn, the heir to the throne, spends her time on the moors communing with wild animals, while Dahut, the youngest, enjoys the splendors of royal life and is eager to take part in palace intrigue.

When Rozenn and Dahut’s bond is irrevocably changed, the fate of Ys is sealed, exposing the monsters that lurk in plain view. M. T. Anderson and Jo Rioux reimagine this classic Breton folktale of love, loss, and rebirth, revealing the secrets that lie beneath the surface.

Quick Thoughts

  • This is a Celtic retelling of a story I’ve never heard before, though it still feels a little familiar because the City of Ys is similar to tales of Atlantis.
  • The art is beautiful, the strokes of pale colors with pops of red and green make the story feel ethereal, like a fairy tale.
  • If you’re squeamish about blood on the page, be aware that this graphic novel has some depictions of violence and blood.

Lasting Impressions

This heart wrenching tale of sisters falling apart and a glorious sitting coming to ruin is not unfamiliar, but this take was surprising and engaging. I was at times gasping in horror at the dark magic used to keep Ys afloat. Both of the daughters of Ys are portrayed in ways I found I could empathize with them both. They are so different, in their flaws and strength, but they both yearn to be loved.

Overall Feelings

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I would recommend this book to those who enjoy dark fairy tales and folklore, and I’m excited to see if First Second Books and the author come out with more books like this one.

6 thoughts on “Spooky and Strange Celtic Retelling || ARC Review: The Daughters of Ys

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