Right from page one, ‘The Court Charade’ by Vesco Flore and Kerascoët is a mad, mad graphic novel, with whimsical sarcasm that might seem like pointless silliness to some! In-fact, even I couldn’t help but sneer over some events unfolding in the story, but I couldn’t stop turning the pages either. Readers will fall into a rabbit hole reminiscent of the kind of eccentricity that made ‘Alice in Wonderland’ a classic. Goes without saying – it isn’t for everyone. Moving on to the plot…
Young Serine’s family is on the verge of starving to death, but her mother insists she takes lessons on how to ‘sit’ properly, instead of picking up an actual skill that might help pull their lot out of poverty. So Serine runs away to pursue her dream of becoming the queen’s lady-in-waiting; is ill-prepared to deal with the trials of serving tyrannical royals. From miraculously gaining the queen’s favor, to becoming the victim of a nefarious plot, Serine goes on a crazy roller coaster ride at court and soon turns into a mischief-maker of unprecedented scale.
Kerascoët is an artist duo – Marie Pommepuy and Sébastien Cosset – whose playful water-painting like art adds a dash of magic to ‘The Court Charade’. It didn’t strike me they were the same duo from ‘Beautiful Darkness’, a whimsical take on fairy tales by Fabien Vehlmann. Anyway, their illustrations are fantastic and the life of this graphic novel too. Writer Vesco Flore just has a lot of fun with the story, it’s filled with dark humor, witticism and does a fantastic job of mocking those in power.
Serine is a spirited protagonist, she is naive yet conniving, forgiving but vengeful, without an ego but capable of vanity…basically a whole spectrum of contrasting shades packed into one little person! Like I mentioned in the beginning, it’s a mad, mad book. Things however do get predictable and readers get a classic ending, the sorts straight out of a fairy-tale, despite the build-up being anything but conventional.
It’s a 4/5 from me.
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Ep 79 – Five Graphic Novel Adaptations Worth Checking Out