First sentence: “On the far edge of the Phantom Waste, the watchman at way station 727 retrieves a message.”
Let me tell you all about this unique and cinematic book by Gregory Manchess called Above the Timberline. It’s an alternate Earth set in the future that is covered entirely in ice and snow.
WHAT YOU’LL FIND IN ABOVE THE TIMBERLINE
- You get a father looking for a lost city in the snow, and you get a son looking for his missing father.
Famed explorer Galen Singleton is in search of a lost city—that is rumored to be buried in snow and have treasures that no human being can imagine. In his search, he finds traitors wiling to kill him for their own claim to fame of this lost city. He cannot trust no one.
Wes Singleton, son to Galen and an aspiring adventurer like his father, is fresh from the academy, and goes in search for his father in the snow. He’ll do whatever he can to find his father, even putting his trust in somebody who put his father’s life in danger. He doesn’t care about the treasure or the fame; he wants to find his father.
Galen’s story is full of action and sabotage. It’s full of guns firing, ships blasting into pieces, and technical speak. If Galen’s story is all action, Wes is where the heart of the story is. His story is very personal. I felt compelled by his story of trying to find his father and meeting the amazing people that comes across on his journey.
- The story is told through paintings.
It’s essentially a picture book, but for adults! Every page has a painting depicting the journey of Galen searching for the lost city and Wes Singleton searching for his missing father. Manchess’s art is simply incredible. You can see every stroke he makes with his brush. He paints scenes that is very familiar but feel very vast and breathtaking. The span of the book creates a very cinematic look. It’s beautiful.
- It’s told through journal entries.
It alternates between Galen’s journal entries and log transcripts, depicting what has happened and gone wrong on his journey to find the lost city in the snow, and Wes’s, depicting his mishaps and the people he has encountered trying to find his father.
The story isn’t very interesting; it’s lacking a lot, especially in comparison to the stunning artwork. The characters lacked enough growth to make it interesting or believable, and I didn’t appreciate the lack of women in this book or the way the one is treated.
Should you read Above the Timberline? Yeah, you gotta experience Above the Timberline yourself because it’s unlike any book you’ve ever read. The story may be familiar, but the medium it uses—paintings and journal entries—accentuates the storytelling aspect. It feels like one of those stories that your parents pass down to you about your grandparents.