Set within a world that’s a darkly magical echo of our own. It follows the story of a street urchin, known as Child, who leaves the cold streets of a snowy city behind when she climbs the high wall into the Porcelain Maker’s secret garden in a bid to steal whatever she can.
The Porcelain Maker discovers Child trespassing but, amused by her audacity, he offers her the chance to stay. He’s a lonely man, kept company only by his alchemically-powered automata, and he and Child form an unlikely friendship.
Shut off from the world beyond the wall, Child wants or needs for nothing as the Porcelain Maker heaps affection and luxury upon her, indulging her like a daughter. In return, she can do as she pleases, except for one command, one rule that must never be broken, she must not look behind the workshop door.This graphic novel, the first from Improper Books, written by Benjamin Read and illustrated by Chris Wildgoose, is a wonderful read.
The story is a character driven one, focusing on the charming relationship of Child and Uncle for the most part, as she's introduced to the large stately house and to the workings of the porcelain factory by Uncle, who takes her in as the daughter he never had, but he is hiding a dark secret. The second half features the kind of fairytale horror that you might expect from a novel by Neil Gaiman.
The art from Chris Wildgoose is fantastic, expertly capturing the mood of this Dickensian-era inspired story, and is worth buying for that alone! I'm looking forward to Chris and Benjamin's next collaboration, 'Butterfly Gate'.
If you're a fan of the works of Neil Gaiman, and enjoy stories that are dark and have that fantastical quality to them, then you will enjoy this graphic novel.
****½ out of 5