Friday, June 1, 2018

Archival Quality - Ivy Noelle Weir and Steenz

Title: Archival Quality
Author: Ivy Noelle Weir and Steenz
Publisher: Oni Press, 2018 (Paperback)
Length: 280 pages
Genre: Young Adult; Adult, Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Realistic Fiction, Mystery
Started: May 26, 2018
Finished: May 26, 2018

From the inside cover:

The Logan Museum is a mysterious old building practically covered in skulls, and also the new workplace of Celeste "Cel" Walden, a librarian who was let go from her previous job after a mental breakdown. But Cel is desperate to feel useful, and Abayomi Abiola, the Logan Museum's chief curator, is desperate to hire an archivist.

Cel soon realizes the job is unlike any other she's had. There's an apartment onsite she's required to live in, she only works in the middle of the night, and she definitely gets the impression that there's more to the museum than Abayomi and her new boss, Holly Park, are letting on.

And then strange things start happening. Odd noises. Objects moving. Vivid, terrifying dreams of a young woman Cel's never met, but feels strangely drawn to. A woman who for some reason needs Cel's help.

As Cel attempts to learn more about her, she begins losing time, misplacing things, passing out - there's no denying the job is becoming dangerous. But Cel can't let go of the woman in her dreams. Who is she? Why is she so fixated on Cel? And does Cel have the power to save her when she's still trying to save herself?

This just sounded really unique when I came across it, and after reading it, I can say that this was definitely an intriguing choice.

Cel makes for an engaging character due to her mental health struggles, and the addition of the supernatural elements adds a unique and appealing twist to the story. It really does make you question whether Cel is actually seeing the ghost and the weird events or if it's just a reflection of her life after her breakdown. The backdrop of the museum as an asylum in the past also gives a nice little reflective piece on how our understanding of mental health has changed in just the past few decades, let alone the past 100 years.

I also really appreciated the examination of Cel's insistence that she do everything on her own without help, and how she has to come to terms with the idea that she needs to reach out to her support network and actually accept the help of others if she really wants to get better. The cast of characters is small, but nicely diverse across many aspects, so that gets bonus points as well.

This is definitely a must-read, if not for the portrayal of mental health issues, then for the creative story. 

Thoughts on the cover:
I love the shiny gold that the title font is done in, it makes for a nice touch. 

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