Last of the Sandwalkers by Jay Hosler, 312 pp, RL 5

Entomologist, biology professor, cartoonist. Not necessarily three professions you expect in one person, but Jay Hosler, author of Last of the Sandwalkers is all three as well as an award winning graphic novelist. With Last of the Sandwalkers, Hosler creates a completely absorbing story that feels a bit like A Bug's Life meets Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom distilled into a magnificently illustrated graphic novel. Last of the Sandwalkers is a fast paced adventure that is packed with facts about bugs - everything from how a firefly makes its glowing light to a moth's use of pheromones to locate other moths and the chill-coma, a phenomena that Hosler wrote is dissertation on, as we learn in the detailed and personal annotations at the end of the novel that make Last of the Sandwalkers all the more amazingFrom the depths of his knowledge of entomology, Hosler builds a world that is simultaneously scientific and mythic.

Last of the Sandwalkers begins with our hero, Lucy, decked out in a baseball cap, heading out of New Coleopolis with her team of scientists, ready to explore life beyond the oasis New Coleopolis is built on. With her are fellow beetles, Raef, a pun loving firefly, Professor Bombardier, a motherly type who can excrete a poisonous liquid from her rear, Mossy, a Hercules beetle and Professor Owen, a cranky, crusty member of the Royal Society of Science with a secret agenda. Seemingly lost in the desert and ready to signal for help, the team discovers the skeletal remains of a human, although they have yet to discover what a human is. To the bugs who only know beings to have exoskeletons, this is amazing and inspiring.

Last of the Sandwalkers is more than just a science-driven exploration story. It's also an adventure filled with secrets, lies and the bug version of genocide (entocide?) Lucy is the titular last Sandwalker, and her origin story, unraveled over the course of the story, is an amazing one. As she and her fellow scientists travel farther from Coleopolis than any other inhabitant of the city has ever gone, they make startling discoveries about the world around them, skillfully interspersed factoids about bugs and how they do what they do. They also healing familial wounds and uncover revelations about the origins of Coleopolis itself. Hosler's graphic novel is dense with both story and fact and sure to attract attention from outside the realm of graphic novels. I can't wait to see what Jay Hosler does next and hope to hear more from Lucy and her crew in the future!

Source: Review Copy

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