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Three Shadows

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  5,220 ratings  ·  567 reviews
Back then, life was simple and sweet. The taste of cherries, the cool shade, the smell of the river... That was how we lived, in a vale among the hills—sheltered from storms, ignorant of the world, as though on an island, peaceful and untroubled.

And then...
And then everything changed.

Can you ever escape your fate?

Three shadows stand outside the house—and Louis and Lise kno
Paperback, 268 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by First Second (first published 2007)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,220 ratings  ·  567 reviews

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Seth T.
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics

Kids, from time to time, will die from terrible conditions that for-better-or-worse will give parents a good space of time in which to quietly go mad. Leukemia, cancer, some horrible incurable disease that causes the body to slowly shut down. It happens. And it's always distasteful. And Cyril Pedrosa made a comic about it.

It's times like this that the term comic is grossly inadequate as a descriptor of what it hopes to describe.

I am the father of a young daughter and the possibility of losing he
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
Back then life was simple and sweet. Everything was simple and sweet. The taste of cherries, the cool shade, the fresh smell of the river. That was how we lived, in a vale among the hills, sheltered from the storms. Ignorant of the world, as though on an island. Peaceful and untroubled. And then. Then everything changed.

Well this took me completely by surprise!

Three Shadows is a graphic novel about a family and their son, who is haunted by these three shadows that appear from time to time. Loui
What a wonderful and mythical story. There is a family living in happy bliss - a mama, a papa, and a boy. Life is wonderful and charming until 3 shadows show up over the hill. The Mama knows immediately this is bad news. She goes against papa's will and seeks out the local fortune teller. She gets bad news. Mama accepts the fate of the family while the papa does not. He runs away with the boy trying to outrun the shadows. They both learn much on this journey.

This story was so good. I was compell
Sam Quixote
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it
A farmer, his wife and their young son live an idyllic life on their farm in the country. Until one day three ominous horsemen appear in the hills, getting closer to the house every day. They’ve come for the boy. So begins a desperate game of cat and mouse as the farmer tries to save his son from his fate, running from the horsemen across land and sea - but can anyone outrun Death?

Cyril Pedrosa’s Three Shadows is a decent but flawed comic. The story takes a while to get going but once the fathe

I should let a little time pass before writing down my thoughts on this gem of a comic. Instead, I will rave about how much I loved it, how hard it hit me, how it's such a huge shame that this is the only book translated into English by this French author/illustrator, how incredible its drawings are, very similar to Craig Thompson if you like him, how Pedrosa is one of the few black and white artists I've encountered who can really utilize the contrast of deep blacks and stark whites to perfecti
Mar 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I showed my husband my latest First Second graphic novel, Three Shadows, he took a gander at where the book had originally been published. “France? Doesn’t First Second know that there are hardworking American graphic novelists being put out of their jobs because of guys like this?” He was joking of course, but after a while a person might begin to agree. Where DOES First Second come up with these people? If they’re not romancing us with handsome mummies as in The Professor’s Daughter then ...more
David Schaafsma
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gn-grief, gn-european
A story about a couple and their young son, happy as a young family most often is, and then suddenly unannounced there are threats, danger, shadows, and the father chooses to escape with his son, to run away to keep his son safe. What would you do for you kid if you knew he might die? Anything, right?

Ach, these books are so difficult for me to read, ones about the imminent threat to your kid. Of course every parent fears in quiet moments the threat of loss. You hold her hand tighter as you cross
Feb 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Ivan by: Nanche
Visuals where weird and at start I found them repelling but as novel progressed I liked them more and more and at the end I loved them.

Story itself is great too.

This graphic novel is real gem.
Jan 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Back then, life was simple and sweet. The taste of cherries, the cool shade, the smell of the river... That was how we lived, in a vale among the hills--sheltered from storms, ignorant of the world, as though on an island, peaceful and untroubled.

And then...
And then everything changed.

When it comes to graphic novels, I prefer those with realistc and colored drawings. In The Three Shadows the art is neither realistic nor colored. At first I found it a bit hard to follow but soon I got the han
Callie *Fights Censorship*
Jul 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
Heavy, emotional, bittersweet.

On a base level this story is dark and creepy, three shadows want a couple's only child, their young son. The boy's father, Louis, decides to take him far away from the three shadows. He sacrifices so much to keep his son safe.

However, what makes this story powerful and memorable are its allegorical qualities. It is a story about dealing with loss, especially the loss of a loved one, a child. The final poem, which had me in tears, says it all:

In this our springtime
Mar 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: great-cover
Beautiful book. I don't want to give much away because part of the beauty is letting the story unfold on its own, even when you've figured out what's going on. This book held me in suspense, wondering what was going to happen once the three shadows revealed themselves. What would they look like, what would they ask of the family? Like the book jacket asks, How far would a parent go to save their child? It's a question that has probably crossed anyone's mind when they have a child.

The story did s
May 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The most beautiful graphic novel I've read so far! A true masterpiece!!!

It was charming, emotional, thought-provoking but most of all real. It is inspired by a real story the author has witnessed and I can honestly say that he did an amazing job representing it in a fictional world.

Ah, the artwork! Outstanding! It is exactly the way I imagine every graphic novel to be!

Best graphic storyteller!

Go, go, go! Read it :)
Rebecca McNutt
May 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This eerie but beautiful graphic novel tells a fantasy story about a couple whose child is in invariable danger. Exploring themes of death and family love, it's an absolutely incredible book.
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels
Not going to lie, this one disappointed me. Most likely because I saw the art first and overestimated it. Three Shadows is not a bad graphic novel by any means- it has a wonderful premise and message, and the art- hot damn that art! -is beautiful and emotive, but the narrative is kind of disorganized. We are introduced to characters who don't have any bearing on the plot and just kind of come and go. The stories pace comes to a screeching halt when the father and son board the boat and interact ...more
Larnacouer  de SH
Oct 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
In our springtime there is no better, there is no worse.
Blossoming branches burgeon as the must.
Some are long, some are short.
Stay upright.
Stay with life.


I wasn't intending to it because if the Graphic Novel has more than hundred pages and drawn out by charcoal style it gives me a damn headache. Even so I read it all in one sitting I couldn't put it down and totally can say it was 100% worth the pain this time. Well done Pedrosa!
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful and moving, I loved it.
Apr 16, 2009 rated it liked it
I really liked this, though I don't know quite what to make of it-- the story is interesting, especially in its parts, but at the same time, I'm not sure it all hangs together. There are sequences, like the getting on the boat stuff, that take a lot longer than I think they are worth, and elements that are never really resolved satisfyingly-- like the slave holder stuff. And I struggled to see if this was a story for kids, which isn't entirely my thing, or if it was meant for adults, and if that ...more
C.J. Cummings
Dec 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
A poignant, weird and wonderfully told story of family, the importance of life and enjoying those moments while you can. I really enjoyed this book. The whimsical and surreal dream-like black and white artwork works really well with the curious tale being woven. This is my first Pedrosa experience and I was taken away by it for the short time it took me to read the book. Really unique and enjoyable. A single-story graphic novel worth trying, for sure.

4.25 out of 5
May 12, 2010 rated it liked it
I love First Second books. Beautiful cover, lovely pages. This definitely feels like a translation - tone is a little free, themes are crazy sophisticated. Beautiful, sad story, that gets pretty symbolic at the end. Sad, but lovely.
Oct 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Beautiful, allegorical fairytale. An idyllic family of three living in the woods, become aware that there are three shadows watching them, seemingly getting closer. The father attempts to protect his family from the mysterious trio, without knowing what they want or having any idea of what they will do next.

The book is beatifully drawn, with lots of controlled scribbly lines (a little reminiscent of a slightly lighter Mattotti), but Pedrosa varies his style to good effect. Some of the pages are
I read the book Three Shadows by Cyril Pedrosa. It had an interesting cover and it had good reviews. It was a graphic novel therefore it was easy and fun to read. I wanted to read a graphic novel because they have interesting stories and pictures and they are fun to read, this book had all these qualities.
Joachim lives with his parents in a small house far away from everything. They have a happy and calm life. Until one day the three shadows come and they want to take away Joachim away. His fath
Colleen Venable
This would be a great example of why I adore :01. Wish I could say I had a hand in any of the design or progress of this book. Pedrosa's lines are so fluid and dynamic. This is a perfect example of a book that was meant to be b&w. Rather than the eye focusing on color instead it focuses on the movement and the flow of the panels. The story itself is incredible, both heart-breaking and I found myself laughing at parts as well (hic-uping angel of death, anyone, anyone?) Even the most minor of char ...more
Derek Royal
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
An early story from Pedrosa and one that displays the tone reminiscent of his work on Disney films. This story, however, is much darker than anything you'd find at the House of Mouse. It may be a stretch to call this an all-age narrative, although it does have its places that younger readers can truly appreciate.
KayeC Jones
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love graphic novels and this is a great one to pick up. It's one you can own and re-read all the time, as I do. The story is moving and the illustrations are excellent. I love that they chose a subdued color palette.
Jul 28, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the drawing style and the techniques used to tell this story. However, for some reason I didn't feel very emotionally invested in the story, and was sometimes a bit confused by it, eventhough I got the point of the story.
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This graphic novel is stunningly illustrated, and beautifully dictates the lengths parents will go to to hold onto their children. The illustrations are my favourite part - perfectly capturing the subtle strangeness that the story embodies.
Mary Lee
Jun 07, 2008 rated it it was ok
Very creepy. Don't read it at night. Might be especially tough for parents of young children.

Book #3 48 Hour Read
Feb 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ugh. So good (4.5 stars). The art was beautiful!
Rob Bockman
Feb 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Beautiful and simple, with a kind of sketchy but flowing style that calls to mind storyboards.
Sooraya Evans
Jul 06, 2016 rated it liked it
An interesting read even though some of the panels were confusing at times.
The scenes on the ship seemed longer than necessary. It didn't add much too the story.
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Cyril Pedrosa began his career in animation, working on the Disney films "Hunchback of Notre Dame" and "Hercules." He has since become a rising star in a new kind of graphic storytelling, combining the influences of animation and the literary traditions of Borges, García Márquez, and Tolkien to create a unique visual handwriting.

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“Back then life was simple and sweet. Everything was simple and sweet. The taste of cherries, the cool shade, the fresh smell of the river. That was how we lived, in a vale among the hills, sheltered from the storms. Ignorant of the world, as though on an island. Peaceful and untroubled. And then. Then everything changed.” 9 likes
“In our springtime
there is no better,
there is no worse.

Blossoming branches
burgeon as the must.

Some are long,
some are short.'

Stay upright.
Stay with life.”
More quotes…