Early Review: The Sprite and the Gardener

The Sprite and the Gardener

I am an avid reader of all types of fiction. Regardless of genre or format, I love to discover the debut works of new writers. The cover art alone got me excited to read The Sprite and the Gardener when I was presented with the opportunity to review this book. Then I read the solicitation text and my excitement rose exponentially. In this original graphic novel, writers Rii Abrego and Joe Whitt’s debut their talents in a spectacular way. Published by Oni Press, The Sprite and the Gardener is set to release on May 5th.

The Sprite and the Gardener is a celebration of nature, told from the perspective of sprites. The sprites used to be the guardians of all plant life. Now, humans tend their own gardens. Wisteria, the graphic novel’s main character, must learn to work her magic right alongside humankind. After all, they all have the flowers’ best interests at heart.

I was glad to see a lot of visual storytelling as I read through The Sprite and the Gardener. There are times when whole pages fly by without a single word of dialogue. Yet, the reader can always tell exactly what’s happening. The story itself is a bit simplistic though. There’s never really any tension. There’s a little interpersonal conflict between the sprites but it doesn’t add much to the narrative. The plot just sort of unfolds, though luckily it does so at a very fast pace. Despite its simplicity, the graphic novel has a very cute and touching ending.

The Sprite and the Gardener is the type of book that could be enjoyed for its art alone. Abrego pulls double duty, writing the book alongside Whitt, while also illustrating and coloring the book. Abrego draws each panel in exquisite detail. She uses subtle colors, but the subdued shades still pop off the page and catch the reader’s eye. Abrego’s characters are so vibrant and full of life. They’re also incredibly adorable. The sprites are full of life and magic in equal measure. The font Crank! uses for the book’s narrative text has an olde-school, hand-written look. This style adds greatly to the magical aesthetic Abrego and Whitt have created.

At only ninety pages, The Sprite and the Gardener is a quick read. However, the art is so beautiful that once you finish it, you’ll want to immediately flip back through it, just to take in the artwork again. The story is a little on the simple side, but it’s never hard to follow the plot. The best way to describe this graphic novel would be, it’s like a picture book for adults (though kids would love it too). Put this title on your pull list so you can add it to your collection when it releases on May 5th.

Story: Rii Abrego and Joe Whitt Art: Rii Abrego Letterer: Crank!
Story: 5.0 Art: 10 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation Buy (for the artwork!)

Oni Press provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Pre-order: AmazonBookshopTFAW