Graphic Novel Review: The Highest House

by Maya Jones, West End Branch Library

The Highest House
Mike Carey (Writer), Peter Gross (Artist) & Fabien Alquier (Colorist)

I’ve always loved graphic novels and anime and when I ordered this book, for West End Library’s collection, I thought it might be a good choice. This graphic novel is excellent. The story takes place in a fantasy world/country called Ossaniul that was conquered by the Koviki 90 years ago. This is the tale of Moth who is sold as a slave by his mother at the beginning of the novel and is taken to Highest House, which is the castle and stronghold of the Aldercrest family.

After he is brought to Highest House, he is begins working as a roofer. Roofing is the most dangerous job at Highest House because the castle has a hundred roofs that need constant upkeep. Moth befriends a mysterious entity that lives under the castle and speaks to him telepathically to give him advice and help him magically. Moth wants to free all the slaves and through the intervention of the entity, he befriends the Lord of Aldercrest’s daughter, secretly learns to read, and becomes a valued slave in Lord Aldercrest’s household.

The author never lets you forget that Moth is a slave; no matter how high he rises in Highest House he is still not free. The artwork with its shades and colors, in dark sepia tones, also keeps the issue of slavery and slave labor in the reader’s mind. But Moth is a survivor and the book ends on a hopeful note that we will see more of Moth in the future.

Highest House is a graphic novel for adults rated 17+.