Friday, November 23, 2007

Book Review: Asterix and the Laurel Wreath by Goscinny and Uderzo

From start to finish this book is full of fantastic illustrations, clever humour and adventure. An hilarious start to the story sees the Gaulish chief, Vitalstatistix, making a drunken bet with his brother-in-law that he can serve a stew garnished with Caesar's laurel wreath. In order to lay their hands upon the wreath, Asterix and Obelix enter themselves into slavery, being sold in the boutique slave emporium "The House of Typhus", but they find themselves with little opportunity to get close to Caesar himself.

There are some fantastic illustrations of Rome in this book and some of the crowd scenes have some brilliant little jokes hidden away in them, but it is the relationship between the Gauls and their new owners that brings most of the laughs. A superb cure for hangovers involving peppercorns, an unplucked chicken and carbolic soap has an amazing effect and creates an amusing jealousy from the family's old slave, Goldendelicious.

Full of puns, the Gauls end up in a Roman courtroom drama parody where the defendents are required to convince the jury to convict them so that they are thrown to the lions in the coleseum where they plan to rob Julius Caesar of his laurels. Unfortunately for the Gauls and the lions, Caesar is not present and Asterix and Obelix refuse to go to the lions which then eat each other.

This is a graphic novel at its best, in terms of the artwork, the story and the jokes, and this is a book that one can go back to again and again finding something new or forgotten to amuse the reader.

Highly recommended to Asterix fans and to those who have never read any of the series. For fans of graphic novels this is most certainly one to have in the collection and because of the quality of the story and drawings this will delight both children and adults. This is one of the best Asterix books.

Score: 10/10

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