Friday, November 4, 2011

REVIEW: LADDERTOP by Card & Ibardolaza

 Two things really excited me when I got the review opportunity for this book: First was the opportunity to Review a manga, format graphic novel. Second: The author: Orson Scott Card a Fantasy and Science Fiction master. Inspired by his daughters love of Manga, Laddertop is in the traditional manga format but reads in the western Left to Right format.
Laddertop is the story of two eleven year old girls Robbi and Azure.Twenty five years ago the Earth was visited by a benevolent alien race they named the Givers. The givers left several ladders on earth. Metal structures that rise 36,000 miles into space. These Ladders are a source for power across the planet. The youth of Earth are vying for the covet spaces in Laddertop Academy where they are trained to maintenance the Alien technology.
Competitive and athletic Azure has been dreaming her whole life about getting into the Academy. Less confident Robbi is a bit anxious and unsure but Azure strongly propels her forward. The two make it into the coveted first round picks and enter the Academy. The selection process is intense and has unexpected results for the lifelong friends.
I really enjoyed Laddertop. The two young leads are very well realised. Their is a wonderful blend of narrative styles. The influence of Orson's daughters is apparent in the realistic dialogue and mannerism of the young girls. I also enjoyed the Sci-Fi elements. A lot of the technology left by the givers is not fully understood. Robbi finds herself strangely drawn to certain parts of the Ladder, especially the mysterious Lever that is never to be pulled.
Honoela Ibardolaza is a wonderful artistic choice for this book. His art blends distinctive manga elements: wide eyes and distinctive facial expressions, with his own style. The space renditions are stunning as well as  the Laddertop designs.
A really great read, I'm looking forward to future volumes.

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