Title: AFTERLiGHT–End of the World
Author: J. Corsentino
Publisher: Time of the Faeries; First edition (July 1, 2011)
AFTERLiGHT–End of the World by J. Corsentino is the first book of a trilogy in which humanity has found itself on the brink of extinction (or extermination) after a series of wars that have all but eliminated the human race, but there are survivors. Those who have lived through the devastation find themselves facing a new and more horrible confrontation: the angels whom people once believed were saviors are now feeding upon the last remaining humans in order to ensure their own survival, revealing the less than angelic nature of the winged women from E’ven.
While angel fiction may be getting worn around the edges lately, AFTERLiGHT: End of the World is a refreshing new take on the genre. Even better is the fact that this is a graphic novel that breaks past the barriers that usually confine most of its peers in that it incorporates artistic elements such as ethereal photographs of real people who have been digitally enhanced to include scenery, special effects, and (and in some cases) lots of skin.
AFTERLiGHT has quite a lot going for it. Simply put, the book is gorgeous. Black, glossy pages. Vibrant photos. Lovely designs. Interesting characters. Gorgeous female angels. Not to mention, it features a clever dystopic story that feels new. It’s also a nice combination of short story, picture book and graphic novel. Each page has blocks of text paired with a corresponding image(s), but not in a panel format. Instead, each page has one to two images depicting an important scene, character or event. While this isn’t a unique way to tell a story, the method is used regularly in children’s books, the eye-catching design and use of digitally enhanced photo images paired with a prose based story gives AFTERLiGHT a very grown up, next-generation feel.
The story is interesting and engaging, but I did have two small nitpicks. The first is that it struck me as odd that the angels were all scantily clad gorgeous women, wearing white shreds of cloth compared to the human men and women who were all dressed in heavy layers. I just kept wondering why the angels were reduced to wearing shredded clothing and rags. The second is that I felt like the dialog and prose could have been edited and paired down a little more in order to better complement the graphic novel structure.
The question that really hooked me in AFTERLiGHT is: Where are the male angels? What happened to them? Were the male angels in hiding? Were they stuck in E’ven? Did they send the females to earth? Were they killed? Did they never exist? Whatever the answer, it’s a question that has stayed with me, and I look forward to finding out what happened to them.
Overall, I found AFTERLiGHT’s premise and story very enjoyable. The characters were all interesting, especially Annavere who seems to be walking along the edge of light/dark. That paired with the lovely graphics made me glad to have had the opportunity to read and review this next generation graphic novel because it wasn’t something that had been on my reading radaar. It is a great start to the series, and I look forward to reading the next book.
This book was provided to me by the publisher.
I totally agree. Overall, I liked the story (though there were some places that left me scratching my head, going “huh?”), but LOVED the artwork. And you’re right about the scantily-clad girls. I think some writers/publishers still suffer from the (erroneous) belief that only guys read comics and graphic novels, and so skew the story/artwork in that direction.