this is just a lovely book, an objet d'art beautifully packaged in a way that's increasingly rare these days. i liked the charcoal drawings in this hardbound graphic novel, particularly the scenic shots of the riverboat on the water very much. the protagonist, captain twain (not, not mark -- this one, elijah, reminds us that twain was not his real name and that he's some other writing riverboat captain) sort of looks like the count from sesame street but i eventually got over the resemblance.
the story is told in flashbacks and there are several narrative strands. siegel does a pretty great job with his visual storytelling and i was very engaged in the various romances, and friendships and nightmares presented. i do think that the ending was a little weak -- discussing it with patty, who let me read her copy, i agreed with her that he was attempting to leave it open, but to me, it just felt confused and unresolved, and honestly, a teensy bit like a cop out. but! overall a fun little read and i'd be curious to read more of his work.
rounding up to four stars. n.b. for those who like charcoal drawings of cartoon naked lady boobs, there are a LOT of cartoon naked lady boobs (sort of hard to avoid when one of your main characters is a mermaid. :)