Sunday, August 14, 2011

Graphic Novel Review: HEAVY WATER

The possibility of Hitler and the Nazis winning World War II is a popular topic for fiction writers. The interest of such stories is just how possible such an outcome could have been. For instance, if Germany had succeeded in developing a nuclear weapon before their resources were drained, the history could have a completely different outcome. The story of HEAVY WATER is based upon one such possibility.

The story is set in a present day-future. In the setting of the story, the Nazis were able to successfully build an atomic weapon and used it to destroy Britain and the United States. They won the war and now the world lives under a totalitarian regime similar to that of Big Brother in the novel 1984: everyone’s actions are watched, people are kept alive only as long as they are useful, and the government is the benefactor (and ruler) of all. In the city of New London, a small resistance has risen up. They believe defeating the Regime in the present is next to impossible, but if they could defeat them in the past, things would be different. So, they build a time machine. A new recruit is brought forth who has a journal from his ancestor, Knut Haukelid. The journal contains evidence for a real historical location and time. Ben eventually travels through the machine to the past to help his ancestor succeed in destroying the heavy water the Germans need to build their nuclear weapon.

The story has an interesting mix of sci-fi and real history. The graphics aren’t bad, but they are a little too dark in many places, making it difficult to discern who is who and exactly what is happening. Also, the story tends to skip around a bit. No crucial information is ever lost, but it makes the reading a little jolted. It’s like reading an essay without any transitions, all the information is there but it’s not told very smoothly.

I enjoyed HEAVY WATER. Besides just being a good story, it personally led me to hear about the real-life Norwegian freedom fighter Knut Haukelid for the first time and investigate his life further. Young adults will probably enjoy this book and hopefully it will inspire them to look into the history behind the tale as it did for me.

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