Book Review: Silk by E.B. Roshan

Some of you may recognize E.B. Roshan’s name from when I reviewed her book Orchidelirium last year. Today I’m reviewing her upcoming MG graphic novel Silk, and I’d like to thank Ms. Roshan for allowing me to review another of her works!

(Required disclaimer that though I received a free copy to review, these opinions are my own.)

What is Silk about?

Farz and his family are Silki-charmers; they follow the giant, spiderlike creatures known as “Silkis” through their jungle home, harvesting their precious silk. It’s been their family’s tradition for generations. But Silkis can be dangerous and not everyone wants them around. Farz may be ready to try a different life, but he doesn’t want the Silkis to disappear forever.

I’ll start off by saying I think Silk has a really interesting underlying story, working through how to handle changes in industry, especially when there’s a family tradition to uphold in the middle of it. This was part of what drew me in to reading it in the first place, and I do think it’s a strong story with a strong theme.

Most of my critiques of Silk come solely from its format. This is a graphic novel, but it felt like it was written in a way that would have been more fitting for a non-visual short story format. As a graphic novel, it felt very text-heavy rather than feeling like it utilized the visuals of its frames to full effect–especially as there were a handful of frames that seemed very repetitive, where we saw a character’s thoughts and later saw them communicating these thoughts to other characters with the same or very similar visuals as a backdrop. Graphic novels are a hard format to balance between text and visuals, so I think the skew is totally natural, but I would have liked to see the visuals leaned into more and used to greater effect.

That said, I do think that the visual design of the world was interesting–especially when it comes to the humanoid species that inhabit it. Their markings did seem a bit busy in black and white, but that’s a matter of preference and it was never so busy that it became unclear what was what within a frame. I’d definitely be curious to see more of these characters and their species in the future!

What immediately drew me to this story was the concept of the world and the family legacy idea tying into its silk industry, and I do think all of that was handled well. The world was visually interesting enough to warrant the format, the development of the silkis was interesting, the interactions between the characters were believable and compelling–especially between the main character Farz and his sister Diljin–and I think the theme was done well. While I would have liked to see a bit more visual depth and perhaps a bit more time spent developing the ideological clash between the siblings, I’m glad I read Silk and I look forward to more graphic novels from Ms. Roshan in the future!

Rating: 3 stars


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