Sneha Jaiswal (Twitter | Instagram)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

For those unfamiliar with the Yazidis, a Kurdish religious minority, the graphic novel “Yazidi!” by Aurélien Ducoudray and Mini Ludvin, released in 2023, serves as an excellent introduction to their history and the persecution they have endured at the hands of the Islamic State. However, due to its target audience of readers aged 13 and older, the book only scratches the surface of the atrocities the Yazidis have faced.

The creators of the graphic novel provide a brief explanation of who the Yazidis are before delving into the daily lives of an ordinary family, portraying a seemingly content existence. The narrative then shifts back three months earlier, where the primary plot begins to unfold. Zere, a young Yazidi, is introduced, showcasing her fondness for spending time with her cousin Nizra during her free moments. Unfortunately, their carefree days are abruptly shattered when their town is overrun by the Islamic State. The militants capture all the young Yazidi women, confining them in deplorable conditions. The story then follows Zere’s trials and her determination to escape the clutches of this nefarious group.

Mini Ludvin skillfully brings the graphic novel to life with their vivid illustrations. The character designs showcase a subtle anime influence, characterized by prominent, expressive eyes that effectively convey the protagonist’s emotions. The artist exhibits a keen sense of visual storytelling by frequently altering the color scheme of the pages. This deliberate choice reflects the mood and time of day in which the scenes are set, enhancing the overall atmosphere of the story.

Spread over 144 pages, “Yazidi!” is an easy gripping read, with an unexpected violent twist towards the end. But despite its exploration of dark themes, the story concludes on an optimistic note, serving as a powerful tribute to the resilience of humans.

It’s a 4 on 5 from me.