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The Legend of the Dream Giants: 06/17/22

The Legend of the Dream Giants

The Legend of the Dream Giants by Dustin Hansen is a hybrid middle grade fantasy/graphic novel. Berg is a young giant, on his own, and in search for a safe home and a friend. He finds one in the form of a young human girl but the cost might be too great.

Aesthetically The Legend of the Dream Giants is beautifully designed. From the choices of typeface, to the binding, cover art, page layout. It's simply gorgeous. Looking at it, one expects to be carried away into a magical world for a few hours.

But Berg's story is a weird and unsettling one. The text of Berg's search for a home and a friend while lyrical in places is almost entirely contained in Berg's head. Mostly the text is divided between long descriptive passages of Berg's surroundings or blocks of internal monolog where the young giant mulls over things.

There's not much in the way of action save for a few interactions late in the book with humans. The antagonist is only revealed in the third act. His power over Berg is of a similar cruelty to that of Madame Medusa to Penny in The Rescuers (1977) except that Berg has agency by his sheer size. He's also more aware of his options and choses a cage and an abuser over looking for another more welcoming town.

What kept me reading was the hope that the wordless graphic novel that's included sporadically through the novel would eventually tie back to Berg's story. This story involves two bears, who appear to be physical manifestations of Ursula Major and Minor. Ursula Minor has a number of run-ins with a pack of wolves. Each new encounter puts Minor and Major, when she comes to the rescue, in greater danger.

While Berg does mention having dreams of magical blue stars and does end up encountering magical blue star powder, how the comic and the text relate are mostly left up to interpretation. I found the open-ended nature of this relationship unsatisfying.

Three stars

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