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Title: The Undertaking of Lily Chen
Author: Danica Novgorodoff
Year Published: 2014
Upcoming Release Date: March 25, 2014
Synopsis: In The Undertaking of Lily Chen, Deshi, a young man struggling to make a life for himself in rural China, watches his life comes unhinged when he accidentally kills his older brother in a fight. His distraught parents send him on a hopeless journey to acquire a bride for his brother to marry posthumously so he doesn't enter the next world alone—an ancient Chinese tradition with many modern adherents. Eligible female corpses are in short supply, however. When Deshi falls into company with a beautiful, angry, and single young woman named Lily, he sees a solution to his problems. The only hitch is Lily is still very much alive. Danica Novgorodoff, author of Slow Storm and Refresh, Refresh, brings her distinctive voice and gorgeous, moody watercolors to this wry, beautiful, and surprising literary graphic novel.
Review: First, I really like this cover. The silhouettes of the protagonists with a setting/rising sun behind them. The cliffs on either side come together with the clouds to make a skull. With death very relevant to the story I like this. The art also matches the artwork within the graphic novel, with beautiful watercolor and ink strokes.
The protagonist is on the search for a female corpse to wed to his recently deceased unmarried brother. I wasn't familiar with this tradition and I find it very interesting. There are many abstract parts of the book with consecutive pages of very simple art. I loved all the art in this book. I loved the Asian influence with the colorful watercolors and ink.
This graphic novel is a quest story with many twists and interesting characters. I give it a 3.5/5. If you like slightly abstract comics with beautiful artwork, you will love this.