Areh be Jeffrey Kinsey (Artwork by Amelia Dregiewicz and Mia Bergeron) ★★★☆☆
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
An ancient and cruel religion, The Purpose, deifies children for their deformities—a beautiful girl with three arms, a brave boy with one eye… the exceptional list goes on. Painted and costumed, they are worshiped on stage. Shy and exposed, they are ridiculed in the streets, often by the same faces. Glorious or repulsive? Gods or freaks? How deep will the identity divide be dredged, and to which side will the truth finally tip? Out of the city, through strange forests and dark dreams, we follow six young friends as they chase their answer. Lightning-lit and pulling moon into mountain, it awaits them at the top of the world.
Beautifully illustrated with over 100 original works by Mia Bergeron and Amelia Dregiewicz, Areh is a decadently lush visual experience quite unlike any other!
With Areh Jeffrey Kinsey’s goal was to create a piece of art (you can read more about it here), and with that he has succeeded. He’s combined his words with the beautiful work of Mia Bergeron and Amelia Dregiewicz’s beautiful work.
I do have to say, this doesn’t have the strongest plot. It’s confusing at times, firstly by jumping backwards and forwards in time, before leading on to a rather complex second half.
Rather than being plot driven, this novel leans much more towards poetic writing. There’s sections written from the perspective of the Goddess Areh, flowery descriptions and pieces of poetry. There is a stark contrast between the generally beautiful writing and some of the dialogue. The character Sammy uses very coarse language – at times the was he spoke did feel like a grown man attempting to emulate ‘teenspeak’ which felt a little out of place.
And of course I can’t write this review without mentioning the absolutely stunning artwork. There’s a great mixture of paintings (see the cover above for an example) and intricate ink work. I would have loved to see a few more paintings – there were a few sections of descriptions which were just asking to be turned into a picture.
Overall, in you’re interested in beautiful writing I would definitely reccommend trying this out. Personally, I generally lean towards very plot driven novel hence the 3 star rating.