Windmill Dragons (A Leah and Alan Adventure)

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Toon Books continues to kill it. Their entire library is breathtaking, and the latest offering from David Nytra is no exception. Following on the success of his 2012 debut, The Secret of the Stone Frog, Windmill Dragons again focuses on siblings Leah and Alan for another adventure.

Although the reader is left to interpret their adventure in the first book as a dream (or was it?), Windmill Dragons sets up its fantastic events in the first few pages as a story Leah reads aloud. The siblings then dive into the pages and appear as the protagonists of that story.

Welcome to a land where the elemental forces are under the control of three magnificent beasts: the Ziz (sky), the Behemoth (land), and the Leviathan (sea). When they exist in harmony with one another, peace prevails. However, when Leah and Alan arrive, all is most definitely not peaceful, and the duo are charged with saving the land from the windmills – which have come alive and are attacking the citizens.

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Whereas the first book was heavily influenced by Lewis Carroll and Hayao Miyazaki, this second installment owes more allegiance to Cervantes and Jewish mythology. That’s not to say it doesn’t have some extraordinary elements of fantasy, because it does. In addition to the three beasts, there’s a giant chicken, magical amulets, a meat-eating boat, and a mysterious faucet floating in space.

It’s worth pointing out that Nytra’s designs are astounding. Like The Secret of the Stone Frog, the black-and-white line art of Windmill Dragons is phenomenal. Nytra utilizes “simple” cross-hatching lines to create extraordinarily complex visuals and elaborate compositions.

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His character designs for Leah and Alan are relatively generic, but this only serves to emphasize the fantastic nature of everything that surrounds them. It’s difficult not to get sucked into each page.

You don’t need to have read the first book to understand this one, but I highly recommend both. You won’t be disappointed.

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(Disclosure: Toon Books provided me with a review copy of this book. All opinions remain my own.)

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