'Canto: If I Only Had a Heart (Vol. 1)' by David Booher (author) and Drew Zucker (illustrator/artist)
'Canto: If I Only Had a Heart' by David Booher is a graphic novel inspired by the Wizard of Oz and Dante's Inferno that tells the story of a little tin boy who loves a little tin girl and the lengths he's willing to go to, in order to save her.
Their people are forbidden to love, but when the slavers damage her clockwork heart by punishing her for breaking their rules, Canto undertakes a life or death journey to search for the real hearts that are taken from them at birth. As time ticks away, he makes some friends along the way to defeat the myth of the man whose power holds them all in chains.
I can't say enough good things about this little novel. The story is beautiful.. both sad and endearing all at once. Canto and the girl he loves just dig straight into your heart from the beginning, never easing up.
People have a tendency to segregate comics and graphic novels from what they call 'real books,' but I've never felt that way. And this story is a great example of exactly how much a good writer can do with the medium. It's full of the feels.. the tragedy of their existence, the small ways they offer each other hope and comfort, the warmth of comraderie, and more. A full spectrum of emotions play throughout the story, more so.. I have to say.. than some more traditional titles I've read.
Oh my, I loved this book and I just knew it was going to be something special. The artwork is absolutely stunning. There are times it feels like it's glowing on the page and others where the texture turns gritty, conveying Canto's experience viscerally. Even the fight scenes are executed beautifully!
Initially, I had gotten the title as an ARC from NetGalley, but my file got corrupted and it had already been archived on the site. Convinced though, as I was, that it was going to be something extraordinary.. I pre-ordered the digital version so that I could still read and review it. Now I'm kicking myself for not just buying the physical copy. I'd considered it heavily, but in the end I erred on the side of caution.. and I shouldn't have. I'd love to have it in my collection.. and you will too.