“You can’t remember how you became the errand boy of a suspected witch… you can only remember being desperate.”
Reminiscent of the famous Brothers’ Grimm tales, The Errand is the first in a fable-like graphic novel trilogy. A nameless boy carries a package that he must deliver to the terrifying woman who lives in the darkest part of the Whispering Woods… What does the package hold? Why was he chosen to deliver it?
Not only does The Errand hold beautifully haunting illustrations but the lyrical prose adds to its allure. The second person narrative creates a rich sensory experience, which is extremely immersive for the reader. I felt captivated by the mesmerising illustrations and poetic words – it was as though I had become the character, his uneasiness and desperation becoming more realistic by the second.
‘You must hurry.’
There is a sense of impending doom hanging in the air as the boy hurries through the woods, dodging obstacles along the way. A looming question rises as we read on: What will happen if he doesn’t reach the Witch in time?
The need to discover more urges us to read on.
‘You feel she sees your thoughts even now, while you’re away.’
The two-tone colour scheme used while the boy runs through the woods invokes the idea of movement, similar to what the scenery may look like when one is running – indistinct lines and a haze of colours. However, when the boy comes face-to-face with the Witch, the colours deepen, darkening, becoming more vivid. The style of art displays a precise difference, with bold brushstrokes and harsh lines – the sense of the surreal is over, the dream is shattered, and the real test begins.
The broken sentences and clever placement of words on the page cause specific pauses, giving the reader the ability to emphasise with the boy in greater depth, as well as inducing the sense that it is their own personal experience and not just the main characters’.
The Errand is an enchanting graphic novel, beautifully rendered, and like all fairy tales, holds a significant moral to the story. Throughout the whole tale, the nameless boy must face his deepest fears, all the while running towards the greatest threat of them all; the Witch.
An inspirational tale of courage for both young children and adults, inclusive of magical creatures, benign spirits and ghastly spiders – all sown together in a whirlwind adventure that will have you believing in the magic of the world again, and in your own ability to be brave.
The Errand by Leo LaFleur & Adam Oehlers was published by Simply Read on 24th October 2017 (£12.99, h/b, 44pp, 9781772290240)
Post by Sarah