Imagine a castle on a hill complete with wall, guards, king, princess and intrigue. Now, surround that hill with modern-day suburbia, and you have the setting for Birdhouse. Add in some poison, knives, guns, illicit drugs and a weird specter, and you get a very difficult-to-follow story of a princess trying to escape her prison and her betrothed.
Fortunately the artwork in this graphic novel is monotone, because there is not only a body count, there is a lot of bloodshed, right in the center of the panels. The text is very clean and easy to read, and although somewhat gory, the artwork is also well drawn and not at all distracting. Facial expressions are simple yet extremely well done in this volume, making it easy to ascertain characters’ emotions. There are a few main characters, however, that are difficult to tell apart.
The story itself can be followed if the reader is patient, but it does not seem to adhere to the standard pattern of beginning, middle and end. The subplots are certainly there, but not always clear, and definitely not all resolved at the end. The only characters that are really developed are the villains, and so even when the princess is in the midst of her escape attempts, it is difficult to know whether to cheer for her.
Rating: Moderate. Minimal foul language, but obvious inhalant drug use and pictorial violence make it more than mild.