Pigs Might Fly by Nick Abadzis, illustrated by Jerel Dye, 210 pp, RL 4
Pigs Might Fly, written by Nick Abdazis and illustrated by Jerel Dye, is like nothing I've ever read before. It is a little bit like something I've seen before, specifically the Miyazaki movie Porco Rosso in which WWI flying ace is the victim of a strange curse that makes him an anthropomorphic pig. But really, a pig flying an old-timey aircraft is where the similarities end. The world of Pigs Might Fly is 100% pig, with pig themed names for towns, people and sayings, not to mention a very cool pig-themed creation myth.
A detailed, awesome map of the Pigdom Plains at the start of Pigs Might Fly sets the scene for Lily Fatchop, girl inventor, believer in the truth of science and the power of magic, in balance. One of the most fascinating aspects of Pigs Might Fly is the presence of science and magic and the way that they are perceived and practiced in the various cultures in the story. An inventor, engineer and respected government employee, Lily's dad, Professor Fatchops, is frustrated that he has had to put his experiments with flight on hold to dig safety tunnels to protect the shire from invaders. Just as Lily, secretly and with the help of her younger cousin Archie, gets her plane airborne, saving the engine when it crashes with a bit of well timed magic, warthogs from the wild lands over the mountains attack.
Sensing the ineptitude of the government, Lily takes matters into her own hands after a second warthog raid. What she discovers is an oppressed pigdom where magic is being used for evil, not good, as the population suffers. Lily quickly realizes that she, and her new found friends, might be the only pigs who can save two different races of swine. What they don't realize is that there is also a supernatural force at play.
Jerel Dye's illustrations bring a steampunk style to the flying contraptions and a human air to the pigs. A newspaper reporter plays an important part in the story and it was an added pleasure to see pages of the Pigdom Plains Post in the graphic novel. The overwhelming, yet not over powering, presence of females in Pigs Might Fly is fantastic. Abadzis and Dye definitely have a sequel in the works and the set up, foreshadowed if you paying really close attention, comes on the final page of the novel and is chillingly brilliant. I, and everyone else who reads Pigs Might Fly, will be anxiously awaiting the next book in what I hope will be a series.
Source: Review Copy