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Highlights from the Leisure Reading Collection: ‘Saga: Book One’

By Jillian Sandy

I love a good sci-fi story, but more than that, I love a story that refuses to fit tidily into the confines of genre (though I’m not sure our catalogers are with me on this one). In Saga: Book One (Image Comics, 2014), Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples meld themes of war, bigotry, family, romance and the search for home with all of the lasers, robots and eight-eyed aliens you’d expect from a sci-fi adventure.

Saga works because it’s incredibly fun to read and visually stunning, and all of its pieces work together in service of its message. Our narrator is Hazel, the child of aliens Alana and Marko, whose loyalties fall on opposite sides of a violent intergalactic war with no end in sight. Many parties with ulterior motives for the conflict’s continuation are determined to track down and destroy the family that serves as evidence that the two sides can live together peacefully.

In addition to following our main protagonists through space, we meet some surprisingly sympathetic characters whose mission stands at odds with the very existence of our favorite family of aliens. Among these characters:

  • The Will is a bounty hunter navigating through the galaxy with his rather unique cat.
  • Lying Cat (perhaps unsurprisingly) calls out characters when they aren’t telling the truth and dons some of the most sardonic facial expressions of the series.
  • In fierce competition is The Stalk, a rival bounty hunter with a human face and all of the most unnerving features of a gigantic spider; The Stalk also happens to be The Will’s ex.

Other characters include the royals of the Robot Kingdom and the members of Marko’s own family, all scouring the universe for our main trio.

Saga takes many cues from Star Trek, blending humor, alien terrain and action sequences to bring characters together of different cultures, gender identities and beliefs in order to survive and thrive (sadly, with a distinct lack of tribbles). You don’t have to be a sci-fi fan to enjoy this story, though you may be out of luck if lasers and magical tree rockets aren’t your thing.

If you breeze through Book One in a day, don’t worry; we have Book Two (Image Comics, 2017) in the Roesch Library Leisure Reading Collection, too.

— Jillian Sandy, research services librarian

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