cover image The Daughters of Ys

The Daughters of Ys

M.T. Anderson and Jo Rioux. First Second, $24.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-62672-878-3

Drawing on Celtic folklore, this haunting graphic novel by Anderson (Feed) pays homage to an ancient Breton myth. Rozenn and Dahut, daughters of the fairy Queen Malgven, are left grieving with their father, King Gradlon, after their mother’s death. The king falls into a deep depression, while the girls grow up following different paths: Rozenn avoids her responsibilities as heiress to the throne of the land of Ys, in favor of caring for wildlife (and a certain friendly commoner), whereas Dahut is tasked with keeping their kingdom prosperous through harnessing magic and—unbeknownst to others—the souls of royal suitors whom she lures into her bedroom. But when a mysterious merchant arrives and catches Dahut’s eye, both she and Rozenn discover that magic always comes at a hefty price. Anderson’s lyric version of the original lore marries different interpretations to focus on the complex relationship between the two sisters, and draws the reader into the eerie mystical world of Ys. Rioux’s enchanting classical artwork employs rustic pencils in a romantic style that recalls Emily Carroll, and autumnal colors which harken back to Breton culture. Readers keen on Celtic mythology will appreciate this whimsical tale with a dark turn, with crossover for Anderson’s teen fans likely. (Aug.)