graphic novel review: The Alchemist

The Alchemist: A Graphic NovelThe backstory: I've only read one Paulo Coelho novel (Eleven Mintues), but I enjoyed it, and I was eager to read the much-talked about Alchemist in its new graphic novel form.

The basics: "Andalusian shepherd boy Santiago travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within." (Publisher's description)

My thoughts: I was somewhat familiar with the plot of The Alchemist even though I haven't read the book, and I think the prior knowledge was helpful. The story flowed quickly, but I really had an aversion to the artwork; it didn't suit the story. The artwork was all done in a classic, comic book style, which seemed antithetical to the message of the story. I found the depictions of the female characters particularly odd. While most things were hyper-realistic, the women maintained Barbie-like curves. Overall, I felt a big disconnect with the message of the story and the artwork. The artwork trumped the story. Not having read the novel itself, it's hard to say if it's the story that doesn't hold much appeal because I've never had such a strong negative reaction to the artwork in a graphic novel before. 

The verdict: I was mesmerized enough to finish it, but I can't recommend it to others as anything more than a quick, mildly satisfying read.

Rating: 2.5 stars (out of 5)
Length: 208 pages
Publication date: December 1, 2010
Source: I received this book from the publisher for review via TLC Book Tours. Thank you!

As an Amazon affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you!


  1. Oh, I am sorry to hear that there was such a dichotomy between the artwork and the story! I also don't think that I would have liked the modern artwork in this book, so I think I will be skipping this particular version. Thanks for the thoughtful and honest post.

  2. I'm sorry that this one didn't turn out to be as good as you'd hoped, but thanks for being a part of the tour!

  3. "the plot of The Alchemist" - wait, that exists?

    Okay, I truly disliked The Alchemist so perhaps I'm a little cynical, but I found so many faults with the original book itself that the mere idea of rereading it (this time with what you describe as unsuited imagery) makes me shudder...

    Then again, most people liked the book a lot more than I did. Though I still wouldn't recommend reading the original, it may be that you would have enjoyed it more in its original form...

  4. Yeah, I don't think I could get onboard with this artwork either. Blah! Doesn't fit the artistic, flowy style of the book at all.

  5. I read the same thing about this book when it comes to the artwork. Ugh! I hope your next read is much better.

  6. It seems many people felt the story and artwork were at odds. That's too bad; it's a nice story in novel form!


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