Adamtine by Hannah Berry

As with Tenth of December, I wouldn’t have come across Adamtine were it not for The Guardian’s regular Top 10 book list feature. (Browsing it is an excellent way to kill quiet periods at work, and my to-read list has been growing exponentially in recent weeks).

Adamtine came recommended as being amongst the top ten uncanny graphic novels, described as a:

“masterfully constructed tale, scattered with puzzles – the title itself being one example – which gradually builds a sense of unease. Four seemingly unconnected people become stranded on a night train. Although they don’t know each other, the passengers are all, in some way, connected to a sinister individual, Rodney Moon, who was accused of a series of murders. The driver seems to have disappeared, the intercom emits only static and they appear to be stranded in the middle of nowhere. Another train stands further up the tracks. Hesitantly, they disembark and walk towards it…”

I added it to my library request list, and waited not-so-patiently for it to wing its way to my branch. By the time it finally arrived, I was so eager to read it that I pulled out a sunny seat inside the library, and almost finished without actually checking it out.

Adamtine isn’t a long read, but it is eerie as hell. There’s an entirely unsettling atmosphere to it, and it made me physically jump a couple of times. I’ve read other reviews stating that the reader had to delve back in for a second read to make sense of it all (and at least one other in which the reviewer clearly didn’t actually understand the plot). I don’t think I need to re-read Adamtine to understand it (although I did flip backwards and forwards a time or two), but I definitely agree that it would reward repeated reads.

It’s been a while since I read a really good graphic novel (or any graphic novel at all, really, since beginning Gotham Central early last year.) Adamtine was a welcome change of pace, and I’d happily read more by Hannah Berry in future.

[Read on 8 April 2017]

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