Isle of 100,000 Graves

by Jason, Fabien Vehlmann | Graphic Novels |
ISBN: 1606994425 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 9/16/2011
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
8 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Friday, September 16, 2011
I first heard of this book via this Unshelved Book Club post. The art style didn't appeal to me at first, but the concept - young girl gets pirate crew to help her find her missing father, with the clues leading to an island [spoiler: controlled by a Hangman's Academy full of inquisitors and executioners in training] - was irresistible!

Early in the book there's a pretty clear indication that it's on the dark side; young Gwenny tells her mother that she's found another map and hopes to be able to find her missing father now. And her mother replies, "You're the reason he left. He never could abide you." {shudder!} (The next few frames are even bleaker, though with a wry touch due primarily to the blank-eyed cartoon-character graphics.)

Gwenny proves herself to be clever and resilient, working some neat little schemes to get the pirates to agree to help her - and to control them once she's on their ship, as she guesses that they don't plan to share any treasure with her. But once they reach the place marked on the map, they find that there are tougher obstacles to deal with. Will Gwenny find out what happened to her father? Will she survive at all? What's the deal with the hooded figure throwing maps in bottles into the sea? [The plot twists kept surprising me, and even when I thought I'd worked out the latest twist I'd be fooled again. I like that in a story.]

Some of my favorite scenes (under spoilers, in case you'd rather come across these things for yourself): Tobias, the most hapless of the trainee executioners, flunks pyre-building because he built his in the shape of a little cabin; "I... I thought it would be prettier...". And again, when the instructors are discussing whether Tobias has any future as an executioner at all, one instructor thinks he might have a place - after all, "It's uniqueness that makes for a great artist. Our metier needs poetry." And the panels showing the captives who've survived the torture-class students' efforts (did I mention this was dark humor?) include a bandaged shape that's clearly missing a couple of appendages - but who still has his parrot (also bandaged) on his shoulder. [End.]


Other books by Jason that I've enjoyed include:

The Living and the Dead, a zombie love story

Werewolves of Montpellier, with, yes, werewolves, but in a very French-art-film kind of story

Why Are You Doing This?, a Hitchcockian drama with some unexpected twists

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, September 21, 2011
I enjoyed this quirky book so much that I'm offering it for a book ray. [See the forum thread here.]

The book is a slim (56-page) 7"x10" softcover that weighs under 8 oz., something to keep in mind when estimating postage costs. [US participants can get postage estimates at the USPS site here ( ).]

Bookray instructions:

When you receive the book, please journal it, and PM the next person in line for their address so you'll have it ready when you've finished the book.
Note: even if you've sent books to that person before, please PM them before mailing this one, to confirm that the address is correct and that they're able to take on a bookray book at this time.
Try and read the book promptly - ideally, within two weeks of receiving it. (If you expect to take longer, you can request to be put at the end of the list. If you find you're swamped with other books when the person before you contacts you about the book, you can ask to be skipped, and then let me know whether you'd like to be moved down the list or dropped entirely. If you receive the book and find it's taking longer than you'd planned to get through it, I'd appreciate an update in its journal entries or on your profile, just to let me and the other participants know you haven't forgotten it.)

When you're ready to pass the book along, please add your comments about the book and indicate where you're sending it, either through a journal entry or through the controlled-release-note option using your country/state/city as the location. If you find that you're having problems contacting the next person in line, or don't think you can manage to mail the book as originally agreed, please let me know; I'll be glad to try to work something out.

Participants, in mailing order:

shnedwards [UK]
Simson-Shilitoe [France]
VictoriaWagtail [Sweden]
lils74 [Nepal]
hyphen8 [HI - USA]
AKSarah [AK - USA]
k00kaburra [CA - USA]

Journal Entry 3 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Thursday, September 29, 2011

Released 9 yrs ago (9/29/2011 UTC) at Nashua, New Hampshire USA


The book's on its way to BCer shnedwards in the UK to kick off the book ray. Hope everyone enjoys it!

Journal Entry 4 by shnedwards at Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom on Friday, October 07, 2011
It's here! Thank you very much Gory. I will read this after I've finished my current read.

Journal Entry 5 by shnedwards at Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom on Friday, October 14, 2011
Wow, this was a quick little treat. It's bizarre yet deadpan, my favourite kind of humour.

Thanks again for sharing, Gory! This will be on its way to Simson-Shillitoe as soon as I have an address...

Journal Entry 6 by shnedwards at Bookring, A Bookcrossing member -- Controlled Releases on Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Released 9 yrs ago (10/18/2011 UTC) at Bookring, A Bookcrossing member -- Controlled Releases


On its way to Simson-Shillitoe in the Pfalz. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 7 by Simson-Shilitoe at Neewiller-près-Lauterbourg, Alsace France on Wednesday, October 26, 2011
The book arrived safe and sound in todays mail.

Thank you very much for sharing this book, GoryDetails.

And Thank you (shnedwards) very much for posting.

At the moment I am reading "The Graduate" a bookring started by Danielle23. So I hope to start with this book soon. Maybe I will mail it to VictoriaWagtail within the next week.

Journal Entry 8 by Simson-Shilitoe at Neewiller-près-Lauterbourg, Alsace France on Sunday, October 30, 2011
A short and quick read ...... on the one side humorous, mixed up with some adventures and pirate yarn ...... but on the other side a little bit bizarre ...... not really my kind of humor and cup of tea.

Posting to "VictoriaWagtail" in Sweden as soon as I get an address but only after this years All Saints' Day (Allerheiligen) next Tuesday, 01.11.2011.

Journal Entry 9 by Simson-Shilitoe at Rülzheim, Rheinland-Pfalz Germany on Thursday, November 03, 2011

Released 9 yrs ago (11/3/2011 UTC) at Rülzheim, Rheinland-Pfalz Germany


The book is now travelling to Sweden.

Happy journey and happy reading.

Journal Entry 10 by VictoriaWagtail at Bagarmossen, Stockholm Sweden on Monday, November 07, 2011
Thank you Simson-Shilitoe for sending me this book, and a big thank you for the dvd it looks very cool, I'll turn my apartment to an aquarium :D

Journal Entry 11 by VictoriaWagtail at Bagarmossen, Stockholm Sweden on Tuesday, November 08, 2011
I liked this book, it was funny in a simple and uncomplicated way which I like. In some ways maybe it was a little too simple though. It's more a comic than a graphic novel to me, it's nothing more than a funny story, it's not a novel where you get to know and follow a set of characters in another way. But I still liked it, it has to be simple sometimes.

Journal Entry 12 by VictoriaWagtail at Bagarmossen, Stockholm Sweden on Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Released 9 yrs ago (11/8/2011 UTC) at Bagarmossen, Stockholm Sweden


This book is now travelling again, this time to a new continent! :)

Journal Entry 13 by lils74 at Kathmandu, Bagmati (incl. Kathmandu Valley) Nepal on Friday, November 18, 2011
This arrived safely today, and quite quickly! Thanks for starting this ring, GoryDetails, and thanks for posting it to me, VictoriaWagtail, it looks like a lot of fun! Thank you also for the postcard of Stockholm and the great stamps on the parcel--I recognize the names of Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson so I'm guess the others are also Swedish authors. Hmmm, I'll have to do some research and find out, I guess...

Journal Entry 14 by lils74 at Kathmandu, Bagmati (incl. Kathmandu Valley) Nepal on Tuesday, December 06, 2011
I read this all in a day--several days ago, in fact, and laughed so much I had to give it my flatmate to read as well. He enjoyed it a heap also! It's hilarious and I would love to read more by this author/illustrator. Love the deadpan humour, particularly the quicksand episode, and the last two pages. (Trying to avoid more details to keep from spoilers!) Will get this on its way soon--thanks for sharing GoryDetails! Really, really had fun with this little book!

Journal Entry 15 by lils74 at Controlled Release, A Bookcrossing member -- Controlled Releases on Sunday, December 18, 2011

Released 8 yrs ago (12/18/2011 UTC) at Controlled Release, A Bookcrossing member -- Controlled Releases


Posted this out to Hyphen8 day before yesterday (Friday) but as it was a very busy day I am only getting around to making release notes now. I was able to add real stamps for your mom as you requested, though I needed higher denomination ones for the amount of postage so there wasn't much variety. Hope you like them, though!
Thanks again to GoryDetails for sharing this fun read, I super enjoyed it!

Journal Entry 16 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Friday, January 06, 2012
Received today with some great stamps on the package. Thanks very much!

The book made pretty good time all the way from Nepal. :)

Journal Entry 17 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Monday, January 16, 2012
Indeed, a cute and quirky little story! Gwenny is very clever and resourceful, and Tobias makes me laugh. The unexpected purpose of the island explains the title perfectly.

I find the blank-eyed characters rather creepy..but I guess that fits in with the atmosphere of the story.

I don't read many graphic novels normally, so I'd never heard of this book, artist, and author. Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Gory.

AKSarah is too busy and asked to be skipped, so I've sent a PM to k00kaburra to confirm the mailing address I have.

Journal Entry 18 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Saturday, January 21, 2012

Released 8 yrs ago (1/21/2012 UTC) at Honolulu, Hawaii USA


Mailed to k00kaburra via media mail.

Delivery confirmation number 0311 0240 0002 1763 6022

Journal Entry 19 by k00kaburra at San Jose, California USA on Saturday, February 18, 2012
Five years ago, Gwenny's father found a bottle on the beach containing a map leading to the treasure of the Isle of 100,000 Graves. He set off to find the fortune, but he never came home. When a similar bottle washes on shore and Gwenny finds it, she decides to use it to find her father. She bribes a crew of sailors with promise of treasure in order to get a ship, and off they sail to find the island. When they arrive, however, Gwenny and the crew discover the horrible truth: the island is not the location of hidden treasure, but something far, far worse. With the help of a boy named Tobias, Gwenny may be able to escape, but she is still determined to unearth the fate of her missing dad.

This adventure story is delightfully dark, but it retains a strong sense of humor throughout. But man, Gwenny's life sucks. Her mother is apparently quite crazy – on the fourth page of the book, she attempts to murder her sleeping daughter, and the fact that Gwenny is completely prepared for this would suggest that it isn't the first time. But Gwenny is quite clever, and her wit quickly won me over. She avoids death at the hands of her pirate crew by destroying the map and tricking one of the sailors into protecting her from the others. She later reveals that she's known all along that the map was a trick to lure visitors to the Isle of 100,000 Graves, but she wanted to find her father so she played along. Tobias proves to be just as clever, and the two of them having adventures together would be great if Jason ever decides he wishes to create sequels to this story. Not that the story needs a sequel; the ending, the last in a series of plot twists, was both unexpected and satisfying.

Personally, I find the art pretty darn unappealing. The blank, dead eyes set in bone white or night black skin on vaguely animal-like faces just didn't draw me into the story at all. Some of the characters resemble dogs, while others have bird faces – weird, right? But if you just roll with it, the consistency of design and the flatness of each panel does suit the macabre dark humor of the story, and it is Jason's signature style.


Since I was the last in the bookring, I've got to find the next recipient. I think I'll wait for the next graphic novel bookbox that comes my way, and pop this in there for a new reader!

Journal Entry 20 by k00kaburra at -- Bookbox, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- USA on Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Released 7 yrs ago (7/2/2013 UTC) at -- Bookbox, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- USA


Journal Entry 21 by wingHI77wing at Fort Myers, Florida USA on Monday, July 29, 2013
What girl knows someones soft

spot for secrets?

More dangerous than a noose.

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