Way back when (late April) I reviewed the first volume of Kieli, noting that it was aÂ fairly thoughtfulÂ entry into the whole “girl who sees ghosts” genre, butÂ that theÂ real strength of the volume was the interpersonal dynamics between the protagonist, Kieli and her companion, Harvey.Â After reading volume 2, I can offer a veryÂ strong recommendation ofÂ this series, which reaches surprising emotional and narrative heights in its final volume.
KieliÂ is surprisingly good for such a short series — volume 1 sets up the characters andÂ the fairly complicatedÂ world they inhabit, while volume 2 watches them struggleÂ to resolveÂ what appears to be theÂ impossible in order to put certain things right that never should have been wrong in the first place.
As a girl who can see spirits, Kieli is isolated and incrediblyÂ lonely, so much thatÂ her only real friends are spirits or others whoÂ are alsoÂ isolated fromÂ mainstream society.Â Volume 2Â sets the main characters on aÂ quest, butÂ their journeyÂ never ever becomes formula, as Kieli and Harvey work together to put an old soldier’s spirit to rest (theÂ solider just happens to haunt a radio so that Kieli andÂ Harvey can communicate with him throughout the journey.)Â HarveyÂ is a manufactured soldier, “the undying,”Â who has been hanging around so long, he’s watched everyone he cares about die and, therefore,Â struggles to take care of Kieli — perhaps by beatingÂ the scene altogether — while also strugglingÂ with the simple fact he cares for her.Â Danger is always near at hand because of Harvey’s long, violent past as a soldier and protecting Kieli from both that danger and that past is always on Harvey’s mind.
Kieli is the emotional center the of the series and it is through her pain but also her struggle,Â the reader can understand an otherwise overly complicated backstory, involving war andÂ manufactured soldiers who can’t die (except for the one way that they can).Â After all, we might not see ghosts but we certainly understand feeling thatÂ we simply don’t belong in the world.Â At least not in the way we feel we should.Â The art is clean and crisp, finely detailed when needed but also cinematic in scope.Â Train scenes, action scenes, ship scenes — all of it is rendered quite beautifully here.Â In addition, Kieli’s lovely faceÂ is a study in various states ofÂ emotional turmoil but also affection and kindness.Â Â
ForÂ me, the storyÂ is about the strength of friendship and that faith in others can be our salvation.Â The supernatural plot dressingÂ is just that –Â a backdrop that allows theÂ creators to tell a beautiful story about overcoming loneliness, fear and isolation in order toÂ love freely in spite of all the bad thingsÂ we experience.
Review copy provided by Yen Press.Â Â Â Â Â
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