Book Three of the Resistance Trilogy
By Carla Jablonski
Illustrated by Leland Purvis
Available now from First Second (Macmillan)
I've just begun my CYBILs reading - don't worry, I wrote this review long before it was posted - and I've already been introduced to so many amazing books I wouldn't have discovered on my own.
Carla Jablonski and Leland Purvis's Resistance trilogy tells about the French Resistance through three episodes in the lives of Sylvie, Paul, and Marie Tessier. In this final graphic novel, Marie rescues a downed pilot and Paul travels to Paris to deliver new codes just in time for liberation. It's not entirely friendly to new readers - some old friends return and certain tragic events won't have as much weight without familiarity with the characters.
What I love about VICTORY and its predecessors is the moral ambiguity. It's pretty easy to say Nazis bad, French Resistance good. But the Resistance wasn't a monolith and sometimes their actions got bystanders killed. And the French, living under Occupation, were often doing their best to survive. Even the Germans had families back home that they wanted to return to.
Purvis's art is a touch messier than I usually prefer, but he does manage to make the large cast look distinctive and his art has a nice sense of movement. Purvis also has a good sense of perspective and often uses interesting angles to liven up scenes.
VICTORY is short, but affecting. With a World War II story, there's no guarantee that the protagonists will be all right. But you want Paul and his sisters to pull through because they're risking so much to do what's right. I definitely had a few moments of nail biting when reading VICTORY.
Fans of CODE NAME VERITY and VIOLINS OF AUTUMN will enjoy VICTORY. Jablonski and Purvis took an interesting chapter of history and told it with compassion and verve.