Jan 052022
Review: Maithili And The Minotaur – Web Of Woe
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Title: Maithili And The Minotaur – Web Of Woe

Author: C. G. Salamander

Illustrator: Rajiv Eipe

Publisher: Puffin

Type: Paperback

Age group: 10+ years

This is not a book review. This is an experience.
It’s magical! It’s completely bizarre! And it is simply brilliant!
To say this book took my breath away is an understatement.

Maithili and the Minotaur is probably one of the first in its category – a graphic novel for younger adults – by CG Salamander and Rajiv Eipe. As huge fan of Rajiv Eipe’s art, I expected to be looking at his detailed artwork, going back and staring for the tiny, the mundane captured deftly and waiting to found, smiling back at me as I looked through it. As someone was distinctly moved by Puu, I expected unexpected metaphors and insights into people that seem invisible almost, by the talented Salamander.

But here – the whirlwind of the mystery, the myriad of characters, the mayhem in the events as they unfolded, I ran breathlessly along, taking in as much as I could, not wanting to miss the irreverently thrown puns, the grins from reading some south culture – Puchandi. Ugh it’s semiya and more – wanting to race ahead with the story yet yearning to pore at the intricately detailed comic. How could one panel have introduced vampire children and Van Helsing and swatted off a sea monster, when all that occurred was a bus ride to school? The deliciously complex headmistress Arcane, Principal Tuth, the wonderful Minotaur, Nagesh, each character arc lets you concoct even more.

And then as you read this in comic style, super fast, super absorbed in this fantastical world of monsters and mythical creatures – you realize there are other things gnawing at your heart – familiar tales of friendship and acceptance, of fitting in and of being an outcast and the darkness that persists, all in the carefully crafted monster world that looks alien at first and then suddenly morphs in to what is perfectly familiar.

And of course, it leaves you waiting for more. The first in a three-part series featuring creatures and monsters from folktales and legends from around the world, I can simply not wait for the next one as I go on to read it again for the nth time.

Recommended for anyone 10+.

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