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Bourbon Island 1730

3.44  ·  Rating Details ·  249 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
It is 1730 when Raphael Pommeroy arrives in the West Indies with his ornithology professor.  They’re supposed to be in search of the almost-extinct dodo . . . but Raphael is quickly entranced with the piratical inhabitants of the island, becoming obsessed with their vision of a world where all people are free and equal, regardless of their skin color.  Drama unfolds on Bou ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 28th 2008 by First Second (first published January 1st 2007)
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David Katzman
Nov 08, 2008 David Katzman rated it really liked it
Pirates, colonies, and slavery. Arrrgh, it’s really not all that funny. Based on the history of La Réunion island, Bourbon Island 1730 is a graphic novel co-written and illustrated by the great French novelist Lewis Trondheim. Originally uninhabited, Reunion Island (at times called Bourbon Island) was settled by the French in 1640 and is still part of France.

The theme is Freedom—the pursuit of it and the failure to find it. Pirates became civilized through amnesty, and yet the civilized looked j
Feb 26, 2009 Emily rated it it was ok
This book gained its second star in the last 50 pages. My main issue is with the artwork, and I nearly didn't finish because of it. Because there is no variation of line width, and not nearly enough usage of solid black, my eyes didn't know where to go in each panel and the characters didn't stick out. This technique works if the style is minimal, but here there is a lushness of detail that makes the characters, the action, and the scenery difficult to parse. At the end of the novel, however, ev ...more
Nov 27, 2012 Lukasz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful melancholic tale about the end of the not-so-glorious era of pirates. Series of vignettes shows the decline of the world of high adventure on vast seas and the beginning of the prosaic sad life of coffee plantators, slave owners and no-life drunkards.
A rather flat story about the end of the reign of pirates; colonists struggling with the terrain, each other, and their slaves; and the notion of/quest for freedom. I found the depiction of slaves in this graphic style somewhat simplistic and mildly offensive. I actually found the notes at the end of the book pulling from various source materials more interesting than the story.
Andrés Santiago
Jul 25, 2011 Andrés Santiago rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
Really enjoyed this. It is a great portrait of the end of an era and the beginning of colonialism. I was surprised at how well documented it was. The drawing is minimalist but very effective in telling the story. It left me wanting more, so I will probably re-read it soon.
Jan 26, 2015 Jason rated it really liked it
A nice wee part of french colonial history i was not familiar with, put into humorous graphic novel form, very inciteful and enjoyable.
Feb 17, 2009 Richard rated it really liked it
You really can't go wrong with a Trondheim book.
Eli Bishop
Jun 08, 2009 Eli Bishop rated it really liked it
Looks almost like a straightforward story about pirates and slavery, but there's a lot going on here. It's a thoughtful historical drama, a comedy of manners and a political satire, based on ugly events. I would totally recommend it for young adults, but older people will appreciate it on other levels too.

Most of the plots and characters are about escape: the fugitive slaves who just want to live, the naive ornithologist who wants to be a pirate, the pirates who are trying to be respectable citi
Mika Lietzén
Dec 21, 2012 Mika Lietzén rated it did not like it
Shelves: comics
Hankin tämän koska en ollut lukenut Trondheimilta vuosikausiin mitään ja ajattelin että tämä saattaisi olla hauska, niinku, Secret of the Monkey Island -hauska. Olin väärässä. Tämä historiallinen antiseikkailu on kuollut kuin dodo. Tarinassa ei ole rytmiä eikä rakennetta. Se ei tiedä onko se draamaa vai huumoria. Tapahtumat, sikäli kun niitä on, pyörivät ympyrää. Hahmot vaihtuvat jatkuvasti ja niitä ei joko erota toisistaan tai niissä ei ole mitään tolkkua. Tekijöiden mielenkiinto historiallista ...more
Apr 18, 2012 Emmanuel rated it really liked it

Ca fait longtemps que j'attends une sortie en librairie d'un nouvel opus de "Donjon", une des grosses séries BD de Johan Sfar & Lewis Trondheim. Pensez, le dernier album est sortie en 2008. Il a bien eu des bruits qui courts sur deux albums en forme de conclusion pour 2011, mais 2012 est arrivé et même les auteurs peinnent à donner une date définitive... Tous ça pour dire que j'étais en manque des dessins de Lewis Trondheim et des aventures qu'il fait vivre à ses personnages...

Par le plus gr
Jul 31, 2011 Matt rated it really liked it
Like Spiegelman in MAUS, Appollo and Trondheim use the separative effect of anthropomorphized animals to tell a socially-explorative period piece in an eye-catching way. Unlike MAUS, this piece doesn't use different species to signify class (unless I'm missing something, which is certainly possible). In this case, Appollo and Trondheim use talking animals as a way into examining colonialism in the 18th century as the need for safe trading brought law to previously isolated islands. It's an inter ...more
Apr 30, 2011 Jim rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
I really enjoyed Lewis Trondheim's autobiographical comics, so I thought I'd give this one a try. He uses the same illustrative style that he used with his autobiographical work. This story was written by a famous French writer, who works with cartoonists, named Appollo. There were many historical references to this story about retired pirates on Bourbon island in 1730, which I found interesting. However, I don't know if something was lost in the translation or not, but the story was a bit flat. ...more
Feb 12, 2011 Damon rated it really liked it
Sort of historical fiction about pirates. And dodos. And the lack there of. I love Lewis Trondheim's artwork, how it's funny without seeming to try to be at all, and how that can add a great element to a story that's not really meant to be all that funny.

The only thing I found myself wishing was that this was in color - it's great in black and white, but color might have added to the lush setting and exotic elements of the story.
Sep 28, 2013 Tracey marked it as to-read
Shelves: stalled-2013
birthday gift from M&D 2013 - stalled as of early Oct, 2013

Offbeat graphic novel about Caribbean piracy and rebelling slaves - with a cast of animals as main characters. Unlike The Complete Maus, I haven't determined if the species has any connection to the type of person represented.
Jul 31, 2009 Ethan rated it liked it
"We were twenty years old, lad, and we invented freedom. The English, French, and Spanish navies, the fleets of the Mughal Emperor and the king of Portugal, they all feared us. Not because we attacked them and looted their ships, although we did that, but because we were free! Black and white, of all nationalities, our mere existence told the entire world that man could be free."
May 28, 2013 Lindsay rated it did not like it
I really, really wanted to like this. But it was boring. I found Trondheim's drawings to be unimaginative, just too straightforward to interest me - nothing special, nothing interesting happening anywhere on the page. And the story itself? Meh. The topic was unique, but I wasn't drawn in and captivated by it.
Jun 20, 2016 Andy rated it liked it
(2.5 stars) Intriguing look at a period and place I knew nothing about - what is now known as Reunion Island, close-ish to Madagascar. While this non-humorous graphic novel apparently is well-researched and very much based on fact, I never warmed to the style of art it employs; although I'm aware it's probably deceptively simple-looking, much of it just appears "messy" to me...
Sep 10, 2010 Joe rated it liked it
Great book about the historical Bourbon Island, where retiring pirates were granted amnesty and a chance to live the quiet life. There really isn't a story here per se. It's a collection of vignettes and a lot of local color, all done with animals instead of people. The ink drawing is sloppy and ugly, but this was still a lot of fun, and maybe even educational ...
Dec 23, 2016 Marlene rated it it was ok
I don't normally read graphic novels but I thought I'd give it a go. A quick read and rather adult in it's content but still a fairly well told story of the plight of slaves and ex-pirates in the early 1700's.
Sep 07, 2008 Francisca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A good, historically authentic pirate story with Trondheim's character-specific animal symbolism--what could be a better treasure? I am betting that the depictions of some groups here runs into trouble in the US and hope taht discussion, rather than censure, ensues.
Carles Muñoz Miralles
Lo peor que le he leído a Trondheim. El dibujo parece hecho sin demasiado interés, la falta de color y volúmenes hace que se confundan las figuras con los fondos, y el guión de Apollo es para echarle de comer aparte, sin un ápice de humor... algo que me parece fundamental en la obra de Trondheim.
Aug 11, 2013 Valerie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bien écrit et bien renseignée cette histoire avec un petit h rejoint l'Histoire avec un grand H de la piraterie et de l'île de la réunion. C'est vraiment un plaisir à lire c'est parfait pour les vacances en bord de mer.
Oct 27, 2014 Laura rated it liked it
To be honest, book, I forgot I read you.

It's not that you were bad, and you weren't really boring.....

You were simply unmemorable. I read you, and then I forgot you.

Sorry. But sort of not.
Dawn Rutherford
Sep 27, 2016 Dawn Rutherford rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
Entertaining yet informative, too.
Charlie Potter
Oct 03, 2009 Charlie Potter rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
i wish I liked this better.
Arpad Okay
Nov 09, 2008 Arpad Okay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
I'm reading the recently published english version.
Philip Athans
Jul 07, 2010 Philip Athans rated it it was amazing
The best graphic novels contain at least a few pages with no words at all.
Nov 11, 2013 Philip rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The real story sounds more interesting than this book was - though it was fine. Had potential. Could have been better.
Nov 14, 2009 Keith rated it liked it
an interesting story of piracy, slavery, rebellion and island life. There are some naturalists too.
this was just fabulous - a perfect marriage of story and graphic style.
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The phenomenal Lewis Trondheim is never where you next expect him. As an artist and writer, Trondheim has earned an international following as one of the most inventive, versatile, and prolific graphic authors. From autobiography to adventure, from bestselling fantasy and children's books to visual essays, Trondheim's unique, seminal imagination consistently dazzles. His work has won numerous awar ...more
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