In a world that is both strange and familiar lives a girl named Henni. She’s not a human girl, of course – she’s a cute animal (with furry, catlike ears, but with two legs and two arms, so fairly humanoid). Born and raised in a village where old traditions and strict religion dominate, Henni questions the doctrine of the religious elders and her curiosity sees her banished.
Henni then goes on an adventure through the land, finding out that her village is only one part of the world. She experiences other, more “advanced” cultures that see her as a scientific curiosity and a savage to be educated, and throughout it all she relies on her wits and her courage to get her out of difficult and dangerous situations.
Henni seems like a simple enough premise, but the idea of having cute animals in a harsh, anything-but-cute setting is very effective (of course, Maus is the definitive example of this). The setting is reminiscent of medieval Europe, complete with religion, and it’s a fascinating, morbid look at religion and life. Henni is a great protagonist – she’s adventurous and bright, and actively questions various religions that bear a very pointed resemblance to real world religions.
The artwork is a little awkward to my eye at first, but it has a strange, homely charm to it and I did end up quite enjoying it. The colour palette is simple and monochromatic, which draws the eye to the details that matter.
All in all, a fascinating metaphorical look at the world through the eyes of an inquisitive cat-girl growing up.
Henni comes out 20 January 2015 from Diamond Book Distributors.