Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Saturday Morning Cartoons

Why Length of a Graphic Novel Matters… // Dream of The Butterfly Vol. 1 Review

I picked this up spur of the moment (plus I want to read more graphic novels!) and quite enjoyed it despite its flaws… which was simply that it was too short! And it got slammed because of this fatal flaw… Come check it out!

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Genre Graphic Novel/Comic, Steampunk, Fantasy, Mystery



Tutu lives in the mountains, its winter and she slips away for some time alone, but when a blizzard rolls in she is hard pressed to find shelter. She stumbles into a village where being a little girl is a crime and animals can talk! There she is caught between rival factions who ALL want a mysterious butterfly.

Dream of The Butterfly Series
by Richard Marazano, Luo Yin (Illustrator)

Published (vol.1) January 23rd 2018
by Lion Forge Comics

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This is really hard for me to review because I quite enjoyed many aspects of the story.

Art graphic for mangaThe art for one! I am an art aficionado so I rarely pick up a volume if I dislike the art. Period. So that’s true with this too… the pages were in FULL COLOR and the world building developed right before my eyes in a compelling way. This is a world that I wanted to explore and understand and by the end I ultimately wanted to know why it was in eternal winter. ALL due to the art.

Dream of The Butterfly Vol 1 - Dragon Festival

(The only part of the art I didn’t absolutely adore was Tutu’s character. She seemed overly simply compared to every other detail. I wonder though if this was deliberate to make a contrast and perhaps allow both sexes to connect with her visually.)

Authenticity graphic for manga 2I really found the story advancing quite naturally. From how Tutu arrived in the village to where she was made to stay and to why each group approached her. I had NO PROBLEM with Tutu being rather snarly about the fact she was given bugs to eat and was thought to be a criminal for existing. There is something so true to her feelings. BUT she’s rather an anti-hero. She’s not nice and she’s rather focused on going home. SHE’S NOT interested at all in this village’s plight. And she’s rather frustrated that everyone wants something from HER!

Dream of The Butterfly Vol 1 - Flying Bandit

I found this refreshing!! Tutu was acting how any of us would react to the same situation. We wouldn’t act all nicey nice and befriend everyone and get caught up in their problems. We would be sick at the thought of eating bugs once you got tired and hungry enough and never getting to see your family again. I found her observations about each group fascinating and wanted to know more about what she thought!

Plot graphic for mangaUnfortunately it is HARD to be engaged in a story that is such a small fraction of the bigger picture. The plot basically consisted of setup. We introduce Tutu’s plight and we meet the different rival groups in the village. That’s it. And since she’s not the nicest or most sympathetic character at the moment most readers don’t even have a character to root for! There is zero tension, hence most readers will pass on reading more… which would be a BIG MISTAKE! (Though to each their own, of course, and I DO understand.)

Dream of The Butterfly Vol 1 - Robot Emperor

Tension graphic for manga 2I seriously believe the next volume will be better. This volume stopped right before Tutu could be shown WHY she needs to be engaged in the plight of the village. Once she DOES understand her personality won’t be as anti-hero-ish and we’ll sympathize easier. I think a middle grade reader will particularly identify and relate to Tutu as she is in volume 1. Her concerns and attitude are the ones a child would have. And the actual events aren’t bad at all, they’re rather fun at times even if just to introduce us to the different people.

Overall rating graphic BlueRating Heart GreenRating Heart GoldRating Heart Pink PurpleRating Heart Mint Green

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My thoughts as a writer Typewriter Pink Purple Logo

Writing stars rating graphic

⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Authenticity
⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Tension
⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Plot
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Art

As a writer myself I would be quite daunted by this ratings breakdown. It’s not a lot of readers, mind you, but its clear what the majority of readers think: they weren’t engaged enough. The thing is I think the story deserves better than that (as you can see from my review and rating!)

Dream of The Butterfly Vol 1 Rating Details 1-9-18 630p

First, the volume is too short. I don’t know if that was the author or publisher’s choice. It could simply be economics due to the cost of the art. Most manga hit and hover around the 200 page mark. They are printed in black and white. So you see why I’m questioning the 112 pages that make up the volume plus the full color pages.

What would more pages do?!
It would allow readers to transition to Tutu’s softening and give readers a little more plot and character to engage their interest. That would naturally raise their star ratings to 4 stars and make it more likely for them to pick up volume 2!

I can TOTALLY see the potential in this story! Yes, it is basically the setup volume to a larger story… but the hints at that larger story are seriously compelling and I will definitely look out for volume 2!!

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What do you think about a volume that is literally only setup?

As far as unpopular opinions go I’m a sucker for stories that are unique and have potential! I love to figure out WHY readers react a certain way as a majority and to suss out whether a slight change would REVERSE everything…

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Thanks for Reading XOXO





Thanks to Edelweiss and Lion Forge Comics for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. This has not influenced my opinion.


17 thoughts on “Why Length of a Graphic Novel Matters… // Dream of The Butterfly Vol. 1 Review”

  1. Ahh.. rare are those that are short and amazing, and I see how this one suffered from being too short. Is it just me or does the art have Avatar vibes to it? Love it though! Would totally give this a try someday! 😀 Wonderful review, Dani! 😀

  2. What I find with manga is that the first book is either a taste of what’s to come or a set up for future events. As a set-up, it’s unavoidable. It kind of makes it a requirement to read at least the next volume before making a final judgment. In a way, I understand if the first volume is a set up, but I am more likely to stick with a series if a narrative arc happens in that volume.

    1. You know Carrie you have a really great point! If I don’t stay on top of finding vol. 2 then I’ll probably forget this and move on… not because I don’t want to read on but because there’s not enough there to remind me I want to read more. ♥️ thanks for making this a mini-discussion I love that!

  3. I’m so sorry you didn’t enjoy this one as much as you would have liked! Length can be defining on any book or graphic novel, definitely. You either write too much or don’t have enough material. Either way, the story and characters’ development suffers! So I can sympathize with your dilemma.
    The art is a big thing for me as well. I’m incredibly vain and will only read something visually appealing, even if it’s the best, most complex plot in the world – if the art is crap, I won’t pick it up. I’m glad that, at least, was awesome. I love colorful art as well 🙂
    Lovely post, Dani! ❤

    1. Thanks Sophie! Length is a concern for books too… I just finished on that I wanted to love but relied on stereotypes a lot and… it was short! I wasn’t surprised because you’re right… so much suffers when it’s not developed enough.
      I feel it even more with graphic novels I think, but yeah, the art can make up for a multitude of sins! ♥️

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