Rarely do I read a book completely blind as to what it is about, but this had me intrigued by the title and the stark, striking cover. From the title I guess I expected something along the lines of One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, but what I got was an unexpected joy.
What I got was a phenomenally deep and complex study of the intricacies of the human condition presented in an amazingly easy to read and follow story. The writing flows so unbelievably smoothly that it’s easy to forget sometimes that author Luke Melia is exploring some truly deep emotions and some really powerful themes.
As a piece of fiction I find it pretty hard to fault. It moves at a brisk pace and keeps you reading until the very end. I read it all in one sitting and by the end I felt like I had been on an amazing journey. Each of the characters are fully fledged out and all have reason for being there. Each is fighting their own issues and each helps drive the story forwards over some highly unexpected ground. Every one of the asylum’s inmates feels different and each works to reveal a different aspect of reason or emotion.
The art is equally brilliant, as each issue/chapter is by a different artist, thus helping with the almost dreamlike state that the book creates. I will say that some of the art is stronger than others in my view, but at the same time I loved all of it and thought that each reflected the situation that the chapters presented in a perfect way. Each artist has their own interpretation of the characters while keeping the core of their looks recognisable. This really adds a punch to the book as we get to watch the characters evolve in front of our eyes.
All credit to the creative team for doing such an amazing job and a special credit to Luke Melia, who I believe could easily become the next best thing in comic writing.