Book Review: Laika

Title: Laika

Author: Nick Abadzis


This graphic novel intertwines stories about Sergej Pavlovich Korolev, Yelena, and Laika.
Korolev was released from a Siberian gulag. While wandering around the deserted countryside, he heard a dog barking. Following a sound, he found a village and that saved his life. After a few years, he becomes a leader of the Soviet Space Program and he is the one, who chooses Laika to be the world’s first space traveler and to enter into orbit on Sputnik 2.
At first, Laika was just an abandoned puppy that wandered around through Moscow streets. Until she was put into a shelter and from there to laboratories where animals were prepared for space missions. On the same day, that Laika arrived at the laboratory, a young woman named Yelena started working there.
Yelena becomes very attached to Laika through all the preparations. And finding, that Laika was chosen for a particular mission, breaks her heart.

I must admit, I don’t know much about this particular period in history and reading about it was interesting. I’m aware that reading a graphic novel is not the most reliable material for learning a history but you have to start somewhere.
Space program itself was interestingly described – rivalry between the Soviet Union and America, competition for dominance in the space program and desire to succeed no matter what were all interestedly illustrated.
Nevertheless, I expected that Laika would have a bigger role in this graphic novel. I’m aware that everything about Laika’s life is fiction but still I think that she should be in front, not everyone else. I wanted to read about her, not about other characters. Who are, in my opinion, in the foreground.
Also, the illustrations were not appealing to me and I just couldn’t get into the story.

Otherwise, an interesting read but nevertheless I had felt that something was missing and, unfortunately, this book didn’t convince me as much as I thought it would.


Rating: 3/5 stars

Do you have any other graphic novel recommendations? I would really like to read more of them but I just don’t know which are worth reading.


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