Elly comes across a job posting on aged paper, covered in dust, and she’s warned off by a stranger who heard something from someone who heard something, etc. that the job should probably be avoided. This sends Elly on a path of self-discovery, personal ups and downs, and finally on her way to the mysterious job that involves treacherous mountains, spooky mansions, and quite possibly a mad scientist.
The great thing about Sejic’s work is it sidesteps clichés, maneuvering through relatively familiar territory with a fresh energy. The slice-of-life angle brings vitality. She’s made Elly and her sister Clara (the two strongest voices in this first volume), despite their insecurities and flaws, women that don’t need anyone’s permission to exist or have a point of view – nor do their lives revolve at every moment around the opposite sex. Bechdel Test passed with flying colors.
For someone who openly admits in the plentiful extras at the end of the book about once being insecure with her art, this is where Sejic fully comes to life. Her stunning character designs, perfectly captured emotional beats, and sharp visual wit tell stories beyond the story. It keeps the story moving forward even when some of the dialogue might feel a little stiff or the when the structure softens the emotional drive. The colors add a great deal to the story as well; it’s a sumptuous book. Kudos to Tricia Ramos who took on the role of design and layout of the book.
By the end of the book, you really do want to know what happens next and, in the end, that spells success.