Mishel Reviews: Pure Steele – Ariadne MacGillivray and Kim Belair

Mishel Reviews

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Release Date:  November 2013 
Publisher: Blind Ferret
Pages:  240
My Rating: 5/5 
Source: Received for review from author/publisher
Cover: Before reading it I didn’t much like the plainness but the symbol of Steele has left its mark and I quite like the simplicity of the cover after reading the book =)

When an aging treasure hunter goes missing in ‘Darkest Africa’, his daughter Eleanor recruits the world’s greatest explorer to hunt him down. Set in 1910, PURE STEELE is the story of a ramshackle expedition into the heart of the Dark Continent, told in its own words. Part satire, part loving homage to pulp adventure, Pure Steele is an illustrated romp that brilliantly captures the spirit of the era with the winking wit of the modern day.

A bold new direction for Blind Ferret, Pure Steele represents our first foray into original prose fiction, while maintaining a striking aesthetic. Crafted over three years, every page of this 240-page tome is expressed as a full-colour, period-accurate collage. It must be seen to be believed.

Authored and illustrated by Ariadne MacGillivray and Kim Belair, with additional illustrations by Glenn Belair, Richard Clark, Benjamin Dewey, Karl Kerschl, Stephen Morrow and Brian Patterson.
I haven’t had the time (or money) to really delve into the graphic novel or comic world. But believe you me if I had it all I’d dive in head first. I think having pictures (and not just the pictures in your own mind) accompany your reading can add so much to the overall reading experience. Maybe its nostalgia from picture books or just the fact that someone is going above and beyond just words to tell the story they want to tell. Either way it’s a win-win scenario. The reason I bring the world of comics and graphic novels up is because PURE STEELE is closely related to the family but also very unique. Speaking of going above and beyond I must comment on how surprised I was when I first received it. I knew the book was different in structure, not really a graphic novel but not just an adult picture book either. Instead I’d describe PURE STEELE as a cleverly made collage of sorts, one that actually uses both words and pictures equally to tell an exciting adventure that I couldn’t quite stop reading. I had no idea exactly what I was going to be reading and I had no idea I’d like it as much as I did. Lucky me!
PURE STEELE is a remarkable tale of one James Alexander Steele. Courageous, handsome, heroic, he’s a very manly man that seems almost god-like. When Eleanor Pryce’s father goes missing on a treasure hunting trip she hires the famous Steele and his many skills to help find out what has become of the poor fellow. The hodgepodge expedition consists of a handful of unforgettable characters that sets out on an adventure that none of them were truly expecting. 
I was surprised I didn’t find at least one flawed character. The entire cast all contributed some major or minor part to the plot. And these characters actually become the story-tellers. PURE STEELE is written through letters, journal entries, and posters from the characters themselves which added a lot of fun to the reading experience. Their tone of voice came through with their particular language use and handwriting style which actually helped develop their personalities and distinguish them from just plain, stand-in characters.  It was such a delight getting to know these people, not from reading from a normal first or third person point of view, but rather through their own words. It’s a highly creative technique and I loved it! 
Each drawing and piece of artwork is smartly chosen to accompany whatever is actually being written on the page. This is why I mentioned above how clever the picture usage is. I’ve never read any book where words and art collaborates so well together. PURE STEELE is sort of like a scrapbook/collage. I actually appreciated the story MORE knowing the authors put so much tender loving care, for lack of better words, into each page. It took my normal author respect level to all new height!
I’m pretty sure the two authors, very nice and funny gals I might add, are working on a sequel to PURE STEELE that I simply cannot wait for. I can be patient though…hopefully =) I think many graphic novel fans will appreciate the differences PURE STEELE has to offer and really enjoy it. For those that do and don’t like graphic novels, are not financially inclined to start their graphic novel passion, or just really enjoy pictures, artwork, and an overall fantastic adventure read I highly recommend! You can’t possibly know how great the book is until you get a copy and discover the layout. Whatever you’re thinking the book is, it’s probably very different. I hope you’ll give in to your curiosity and find out!
PS from Blodeuedd.
Be sure to stop by tomorrow cos then I have an interview with the authors done by Mishel. And there is an international giveaway of a hardback copy of the book

20 thoughts on “Mishel Reviews: Pure Steele – Ariadne MacGillivray and Kim Belair

  1. Braine TS says:

    I'm the opposite, My first graphic novel was The Adventures of Tintin and I remember laboring my way through it. Maybe it's the illustrations or the story, I don't know but I didn't get into it. I wasn't into comics too, the only exception was Archie LOL (see how vapid & limited I am?).But I do get the allure of graphic novels, I agree that it does add a lot of things to the story in terms of experience. Happy holidays!

  2. Melliane says:

    I didn't know this one but wow 5/5? it's awesome! I don't read a lot but it's nice from time to time. Well I only read the Mercedes Thompson books, Anita blake and Dark Swan.

  3. Mishel says:

    Happy Holidays to you too!! This one wasn't really like a typical comic or graphic novel but I'm glad that you agree on the overall experience being enhanced by pictures and artwork. PURE STEELE really stood out for me.

  4. Mishel says:

    I've read the first two Anita Blake graphic novels but they are more comic like. I think you'd like PURE STEELE because it's very different from what you've seen.

  5. Mishel says:

    I hope you'll give them a go. I like graphic novels but like I said earlier, I don't have the time or money to really dive in yet. But they are fun =)

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