After an event known as the Midnight, the world is mostly uninhabitable. Paradiso is the only city left, surrounded by Badlands all around. While it is mostly in shambles, it is a place everyone wants to go to. Outside Paradiso is Aquarius Point, where small groups of survivors like Scavvies and Redwaters stick together to survive. Although Paradiso is close enough to be seen from Aquarius, the two are divided by the impassable Lost Corridor guarded by mechanical beings known as the Guardians.

In Aquarius Point, Jack Kryznan is trying to find a way to get into Paradiso. He doesn’t remember very much from his childhood, only that he was apprentice to a Tinkerman, a person who could fix mechanical devices. There are no Tinkermen left, but Jack is in possession of a device from before called a Pneumas that could bring machines back to life. In Aquarius, Jack makes a deal with Redwaters to get him into Paradiso. But he is not aware that forces beyond his control are in search of the Pneumas, and he is in more danger than he knows.

Paradiso is a highly imaginative science fiction graphic novel set in an apocalyptic future. The book features superb world-building supported by unique artwork that renders its crumbling buildings, monsters, and inhabitants in stark detail. The world created by author Ram V and artist Devmalya Pramanik is fascinating to learn about. However, the overall narrative and pacing of the story was confusing on first read-through, and I found that I had to go back to the beginning to make sense of the characters and events through the first half of the book. I would have liked to see the story progress at a slower pace that would allow me to learn more about the Great Before, the time before the Midnight, along with more detail about the apocalyptic world.

Overall, Paradiso will appeal most to adults and older teens who are fans of science fiction and apocalyptic stories that are heavy on action and world-building. The book does not contain much bloody violence or gore, but there are some disturbing images better suited to mature audiences.

Paradiso, vol. 1: Essential Singularity 
by Ram V
Art by Devmalya Pramanik, Dearbhla Kelly
ISBN: 9781534306608
Image, 2018
Publisher Age Rating: M

  • Anush

    Past Reviewer

    This reviewer is not longer actively working on our site, but we would not be here if not for our many dedicated contributors over the years. We thank all of them for their reviews, features, and support! Anush is a youth services librarian at the Monrovia Public Library. She orders books for children and teens. She regularly conducts programs at the library, including tabletop gaming, anime club, and 3D printing workshops. Her love of graphic novels started when she discovered the Sandman comics, and while she reads all kinds of graphic novels, Sandman and Neil Gaiman still have a special place in her heart. Fantasy and young adult literature are her favorite, and when she’s not reading graphic novels, you can find her listening to audiobooks and drawing. She has served on YALSA committees and is a director on the board of the Children’s Literature Council of Southern California.

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