|This might be one of the most clever covers of the year.|
Deshi is a young man, and it seems he is struggling to become a pilot in the People's Army. His older brother Wei teases him and the brothers begin to fight when Wei falls into the path of a jeep and is killed. When Deshi breaks the news to his family they are devastated. It seems Wei was the favorite child and the one who was most successful in their parents' eyes. They even tell Deshi they would rather he would have been the one to die instead of Wei. Wanting to provide for their favorite son in death, the parents send Wei on a quest to find the corpse of a female- preferably young, attractive and unmarried- to be married to Wei in death so he is not alone for eternity.
|Some of the brilliant colors in the book.|
I was expecting more supernatural elements to the story- China seems to have a strong reverence for ancestors, and I thought it would be interesting to see their interaction with the real world- would they approve of what the Deshi and Lily did? Would they help Lily's father? Would they encounter any demons or monsters from Chinese lore?
Alas, the entire story is set in modern, but very rural China where progress is coming, and many of the old ways are going away if they are not to the advantage of those who can use them, i.e., the landlord who will agree to extend the Chen's lease on the land if they will give him Lily as a bride.
I have to admit, I was not a fan of the art style, but it became less distracting as the story continued to build. I was also captivated by the use of the watercolored tones and use of white space on the pages.
|An example of the great use of white space.|
The Undertaking of Lily Chen is published by :01 Books. It is 430 pages of full color art, has a suggested retail price of $29.99 and will be released for sale on March 25.