Thursday, December 02, 2010

Review: Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch

Book Description:

Spunky, strong-willed eleven-year-old Mirka Herschberg isn’t interested in knitting lessons from her stepmother, or how-to-find-a-husband advice from her sister, or you-better-not warnings from her brother. There’s only one thing she does want: to fight dragons!

Granted, no dragons have been breathing fire around Hereville, the Orthodox Jewish community where Mirka lives, but that doesn’t stop the plucky girl from honing her skills. She fearlessly stands up to local bullies. She battles a very large, very menacing pig. And she boldly accepts a challenge from a mysterious witch, a challenge that could bring Mirka her heart’s desire: a dragon-slaying sword! All she has to do is find—and outwit—the giant troll who’s got it!

A delightful mix of fantasy, adventure, cultural traditions, and preteen commotion, Hereville will captivate middle-school readers with its exciting visuals and entertaining new heroine.

Source: Abrams Books – Amulet Books, Emma Sanders (Thanks!)

My Thoughts:

This was the first time that I read a YA graphic novel for review. And I liked it! In fact, I liked it so much that I am gonna be accepting other YA graphic novels for review.

Mirka was a very fun and quirky girl. She reminded me of my younger self, not because I wanted to fight dragons too but because I was always out playing guy games instead of girly ones. In a way, this novel was a bit feminist. Mirka’s younger brother said she could not do her mission because she was a girl. Regardless of the intentions behind the words, Mirka got up and did it. Being a girl did not stop her from doing what she wanted and getting what she wanted.

I loved the incorporation of German and of little Troll-speak in this novel. As you all know, I am taking up European Languages at my university and I am going to minor German next year. It made the story more interesting, more cultural since there were two languages in the novel – excluding Troll-speak – and not just one.

Herevillle was not just a series of drawings and dialogues. It was full of culture and magic too. I had never read about Orthodox Jewish in any other book. The introduction to that world was done great in this novel. Another thing I really appreciated was the family dynamics. I got to see the bonds of Mirka’s family. It was not a perfect family. There were so many rules to follow, so many chores to do and so many siblings to get along with. Each sibling had his/her own concern about life that will affect each other one way or another. I do not have siblings. For me, novels about this kind of relationship were always interesting to read because I never got to experience this. To make things more complicated and interesting, enter Fruma – Mirka’s stepmother – a woman who could debate about one point and have you arguing with her for as long as you could.

Dragon-fighting has always been Mirka’s dream. The quest started when she saw a woman floating, who pretty much looked like a witch and who was living in a strange house in the middle of the forest. But it does not happen right away. She had to be bothered, annoyed, irritated and pestered first. It led to several problems and raised issues concerning her and her family. I admired the perseverance of Mirka – something that was usually missing in the people around me. Optimism was a very lovely quality and it did Mirka good. She got what she wanted.

Hereville is one of a kind graphic novel that follows the story of an unlikely girl who will do anything to follow her dream, no matter what other people say. It is about family, relationships, dreams, magic and perseverance. The only thing I would like is a more action-packed ending!



  1. I haven't read any graphic novel. Wish it is available in our country.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I haven't seen this one before.

  3. That looks brilliant! It has such a great cover.

    Ali @ Vorvolaka

  4. Thanks so much for this review! I'm glad you enjoyed Hereville.