Illustrations – Wesley St. Claire
Jake lives with his Uncle Paul and Aunt Karen in Alaska. He has a flatulent Welsh Corgi with one eye called Shadwell. After spending most of his time breaking codes and researching conspiracy theories, Jake learns that all of the conspiracies are true.
Right around the same time, he learns that everything he thought was true about his life is actually a lie. Enter Nadine from the Beyonders, his soon to be insta love with the blue lips.
Nadine tells him about the Beyonders and the Order, an “ancient society bent on preserving a power structure that keeps us subservient”, otherwise known as the Illuminati.
It turns out that Jake is the only one in the world who can crack a super important, super old code and does so overnight, despite it having thwarted people for centuries before him.
He also learns how high the stakes are. Sort of.
“The stakes are too high.”
“What are the stakes, exactly?”
“Higher than you can imagine.”
Jake spends a fair amount of time talking about how confusing and complicated the situation is.
Between all of the complicated stuff and the miraculous way everything comes together, including a very specific prophecy (so specific that Nadine’s blue lips are mentioned), there’s also an abundance of sandwiches, references to the dog’s flatulence and Leonardo da Vinci.
Personally, I had trouble taking Nadine seriously. I couldn’t see past her collagen overdosed lips.
I also had some unanswered questions, which I don’t expect to be answered in future Volumes. For example, if Shadwell was specifically placed in the animal shelter for Jake, how did the Beyonders know he’d choose that particular dog?
I was initially intrigued by the mystery within the mystery component of this graphic novel. There’s symbols to decipher as you make your way through the story in the form of a treasure hunt.
Before I’d even begun reading the story I spent at least half an hour diligently copying the various letters and symbols onto a piece of paper so I could decipher the code. I applaud anyone who actually follows through with this though. I gave up transcribing the symbols on page 33. There’s a symbol on every panel and some of them aren’t overly clear (is that supposed to be an O or a zero?).
Had I fallen in love with the story I probably would have persevered in the hopes of winning something related to the Beyonders but it turns out I couldn’t even cheat properly! After I decided I wasn’t playing to win I figured I’d at least go to the AfterShock website to see what the answer was, but I couldn’t find it. Maybe the specific website address is included in the code. Maybe I couldn’t see it for looking. Maybe someone at AfterShock forgot to include the answer on the graphic novel’s page. Who knows?!
I loved Indiana Jones and have been obsessed with The X-Files for more than half of my life so this should have been the graphic novel for me. Unfortunately it just didn’t work for me. All of the pieces fit together too easily for the main character and, although my ‘I’ll believe pretty much anything if it makes the story more fun’ threshold is fairly high (or low, depending on how you look at it), I didn’t believe.
Thank you to NetGalley, AfterShock Comics and Diamond Book Distributors for the opportunity to read this graphic novel.
Once Upon a Blurb
A young boy obsessed with crop circles and cryptography finds his boring life turned upside-down when he discovers that all of his conspiracy theories are true, sending him on the ultimate treasure hunt for an ancient secret spanning thousands of years.
What is the connection between a lost mountaineer, an indecipherable manuscript, and the lost library of Alexandria?
How is this connected to a one-eyed, flatulent Welsh Corgi and endless plates of corned beef sandwiches?
Find out in … Beyonders! And uncover the secret of the actual treasure hunt woven into its pages!