Member Reviews

Una storia così disastrosa come l'esplosione di Chernobyl è descritta attraverso dei disegni davvero evocativi, dalla scelta di utilizzare una determinata gamma di colori all'utilizzo di tratti meno chiari durante i momenti più drammatici. Con buona probabilità uno dei fumetti migliori letti in questo periodo.

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An amazing graphic novel that does an excellent job of tackling a difficult event in an informative and compelling way.

The design is original in its approach to colour and technical schematics, but at the same time it tells a very human story in an easy to read way.
I found it very enlightning and came away with a better understanding of the Chernobyl incident.

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I believe most people are aware of the events that took place in Chernobyl and the hardships that followed at this point thanks to the Netflix TV show. But if you enjoy graphic novels, this book perfectly showcases how a famous historical event can be portrayed effectively. The artwork and color scheme enhance the story, making it even more impactful. Plus, the scientific concepts are explained in a way that's easy to grasp. I highly recommend it.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Palazzo Editions for providing an ARC of this book to reviewers.

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This book was super interesting to read because it was a graphic novel, but it was also a historical true story. It was very informative, while not being boring or dry. I learned a lot about the Chernobyl disaster, which I really appreciated. The images were also nicely drawn to convey the message of the book.

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Namai’s Chernobyl will give readers a comprehensive understanding of what happened at the Lenin Power Station—perhaps better than any documentary yet produced. His art and color palette have a fittingly Soviet vibe, yet the clarity of detail illuminates events as they happen. Full review here:

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An intriguing and compelling graphic novel that retells the tragic Chernobyl disaster through a science fiction lens that highlights the dysfunctional and corrupt system that brought it about. Namai creates a short but impactful examination of the moment that changed everyday life in the whole world and had the world standing still. I thoroughly enjoyed Namai's graphic novel with his unique artwork that gave it a 1950s sci-fi comic book/Fallout vibe, emphasising the connection of past and present as to how Chernobyl still affects the world, today.

I highly recommend Namai's Chernobyl: The Fall of Atomgrad for anyone who wants a brief but concise history of the Chernobyl disaster, or even those who love a retro-style graphic novel that screams Fallout in its colours and illustrations.

Thank you, NetGalley and Palazzo Editions for sending me an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Wonderful graphic novel to share with students to understand the disaster at Chernobyl. The text of the book is not overly complicated that it can not be understood and the tone of the novel is informative and engaging. Would definitely add to classroom novel and recommend to students.

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Difficult to read. DNF'd about half way through the graphic novel and wasnt a fan of the of the layout. Found it hard to get into.

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I’ve only recently gotten into reading graphic novels, but if Chernobyl is an indication of what this genre can offer, I’m hooked! As someone who was born over ten years after the event described in this story, I knew hardly anything about it—mostly that it was a terrible disaster involving a nuclear reactor. What I didn’t expect, going into this book, was the depth the story went to—not only did it clearly explain (in layman’s terms!) what and how nuclear reactors work; but it also showed the day-to-day outworking of what it was like to survive the disaster. Fascinating, heartbreaking, and told in a gripping, memorable way, this is a book I’m grateful to have had the chance to read. This isn’t a book for younger readers; I’d recommend it to probably early-mid teens on up, due to some of the content (nuclear poisoning, for one thing, is no joke). But overall, highly recommended to any history lover! I’m planning to keep an eye out for other books by this author if I can find them!

I was given a complimentary copy of this book, and this is my honest opinion of it.

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This is an stark portrayal of the tragedy of Chernobyl nuclear accident.. It is a brief but unflinching examination of the dysfunctional and corrupt system that brought it about and ruined so many lives in the aftermath. The narrative and illustrations work as one to produce a compelling history. The book wouldn't have as much impact without both. I often rue the fact that in schools history only fits as overview so that people think it’s boring. History is interesting in the details and this book is a fine example of the way details present the evidence of the whole.

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Rating it 3 stars as it was difficult to read. Like physically difficult. They did say the file quality wasn't the best, but it was too blurry to read on my device. I'll read it some point in the future and review it on GR/SG.

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This is a moving and very beautifully drawn record of Chernobyl and the people who were affected by the accident. By now I’ve read and watched many accounts; the event remains bewildering, and this graphic novel does not record any new facts that will make it less so for you. In fact, this account is fragmentary, but the powerful visuals do tremendous work.

Necessarily, because of the medium, some detail is of course lost, so a suggested companion read is Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham, although the two cover much of the same ground. Still, there’s something about a graphic novel that brings immediacy to the subject matter; per the proverb, a picture is worth a thousand words. This graphic novel certainly is. Highly recommended.

Many thanks to Palazzo Editions and to NetGalley for early access.

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"Chernobyl: The Fall of Atomgrad" is a gripping graphic novel that offers a comprehensive and nuanced portrayal of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Through an extremely detailed timeline of events and beautiful illustrations, it delves into the causes, consequences, and aftermath of the catastrophic explosion at the Lenin reactor. The artwork, characterized by its unique style and a yellow and blue color palette reminiscent of the Ukrainian flag, effectively captures the tragedy and honors those affected by the disaster.

With a balance of technical detail and human perspective, this graphic novel is a powerful educational resource suitable for mature high schoolers and adults alike, offering a poignant exploration of one of the most significant events in modern history. This would be a great option for reading in the classroom!

Thank you Net Galley for the e-ARC! I wish all the success for this graphic novel.

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This graphic novel completely captivated me. While the disaster it portrays is widely recognized, I believe many aren't aware of the full depth of the story, and this work beautifully captures its essence. It's a definite must-read, shedding light on a narrative that deserves wider understanding.

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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Really liked it, stuck with me & would recommend
I've watched quite a few documentaries about Chernobyl, so I do know a bit about what happened. However, this graphic novel managed to make me see a different aspect of the catastrophe. Namely, that this was bound to happen because of cost cutting and shortcuts in the manufacturing. The story starts way before the story starts, mind blown. 

The drawings are so artful and beautiful, in the style of Russian propaganda posters, but with an entirely different color palette, in the vein of Ukrainian flag colors.   It was gorgeous! I truly enjoyed this and would recommend to anyone interested in history.

Thank you to Palazzo Editions, NetGalley, and author Matyáš Namai for providing me with a digital ARC copy of this graphic novel in exchange for an honest review. Chernobyl: The Fall of Atomgrad is out May 7, 2024.

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This is a graphic novelization of the 1986 nuclear accident at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (ChNPP), Reactor No. 4, near Pripyat, Ukrainian SSR, in the Soviet Union. Writer and illustrator Matyáš Namai created the work in the Czech Republic, and Palazzo Editions published it in the UK. It relates the events, the causes and other contributing factors, and consequences of the accident in a very approachable graphical style. The blue and yellow artwork make an interesting color palette, given the colors of the Ukrainian national flag. The signage depicted in the drawings is primarily Cyrillic, and it enhances the experience if you can read words like “ХЛЕБ” along with the English text in the boxes and balloons.

This story opens with the 27th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1986, the same year as the accident, and implies that the accident was a product of hubris during Gorbachev-era Perestroika - which would be a bit of an oversimplification. ChNPP construction began in 1972, and the plant was commissioned in phases with its four reactors between 1978 (No. 1) and 1984 (No. 4). The defects in construction and the rush into service had already happened, although the complicating factors of administrative corruption and denial were ongoing. After the 27th Congress, the story immediately and unclearly switches to the 1970 back story of planning and construction.

The story gives a more detailed account than I have read before, of the suspended test and night-shift resumption that triggered the accident. It follows through with many aspects of what happened – the explosion itself, the management denial, the evacuation of the surrounding communities, the subsequent deaths by radiation poisoning, the use of forced labor to clean up, the construction of a containing sarcophagus, and reconnection of the three remaining reactors to the power grid. Besides the action within the plant, the story also illustrates the impacts on local residents in a poignant way.

The story closes with the show-trial of 1987, when several of the plant managers were sentenced. Namai places the blame on “an insidious cycle, a deceitful system that caught up with us eventually. The Chernobyl explosion exposed its corruption. It has much to teach us at the cost of dozens of lives and hundreds of thousands of destinies.”

An ending positive note is that even though the contamination persists, the unveiling of truths was enabled by the collapse and reform of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. I was an adult in the West during these actual events, and I learned from this book. However, the story ends without telling the next chapter - events in the vicinity of Chernobyl during the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

I read an Advance Review Copy of Chernobyl in Adobe Digital Edition format, which I received from Palazzo Editions through in exchange for an honest review on social media platforms and on my book review blog. This new title is scheduled for release on 7 May 2024.

PS – I hate ADE. 10-30 seconds per page turn.

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I was a teenager when Chernobyl nuclear power station exploded. Living in the UK there was scant information about what was actually happening, but we knew it was bad. We panicked about poison rain and whether we could still eat Welsh lamb, as the radioactive cloud headed across Europe.
Namai's graphic novel sheds light on what was happening away from the news headlines as the notoriously secretive Russian government tried to play down the size of the disaster, while dealing with an unprecedented world-threatening event. Colourised in the blue and yellow of Ukraine, it's a terrifying look at how bad things got, how the disaster happened and the toll on human lives - from the displaced residents of Pripyat who were "temporarily evacuated" never to return to their homes, to the firemen who were dispatched on the night of the disaster and who received fatal doses of radiation that led to brutal deaths, to the cleaners brought in to clear up the toxic fallout from the reactor explosion...
An excellent telling of a hugely significant moment in history.

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In a Nutshell: A hardhitting graphic novel about the world’s largest nuclear disaster. As horrifying as you can imagine, though the artwork luckily tones down the gruesomeness thanks to the chosen colour palette. A bit rushed in execution, but still, a good starting point to know about the Chernobyl catastrophe in 1986.

When blind nationalism supersedes common sense, the result is disaster. Chernobyl is the biggest proof of this.

This graphic novel retells the events of the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl in April 1986 and the aftermath of the same. It covers the impact on the first respondents, the ordinary citizens and the responsible parties, while also highlighting the series of illogical decisions that led to the disaster.

The book begins with a spine-chilling reference table indicating radiation levels and their effects. This indicates how radiation is actually everywhere, what constitutes a dangerous or a fatal dose of radiation, and what dose was received by the people in Chernobyl on that fateful day. The numbers are enough to induce nightmares.

But the main nightmare is when you see not just the disaster unfolding on the page, but the events that led to the disaster. What can one say when people who know nothing about nuclear energy are put in charge of building and running such huge nuclear power plants? Or when deadlines are made so crucial that quality is compromised for speed? Or when the general population is considered expendable for the larger good of proving your country’s worth to the world?

I have watched the brilliant miniseries “Chernobyl” and though I had vaguely known about the disaster even before, it is the TV series that first showed me the actual terrifying nature of the event. If you have already watched the series, the book doesn’t offer much new information. It would anyway be tough for a graphic novel to compare with an audio-visual medium, but to a certain extent, this book succeeds in its purpose of reminding us of that haunting calamity.

What I especially liked was how the novel depicted the “socialistic” approach towards getting work done. The author doesn’t hold back in his criticism of the Russian oligarchy, being quite blunt about how their uppity attitude, their blind adherence to party dictates, and their overconfidence in their skills created a goof of such a monumental scale.

Another thing I loved was its simplified analogy of how exactly the reactor exploded. This was a clever way of explaining the cause to general readers without going too jargonistic.

At the same time, the book feels somewhat rushed. It is only 112 pages long, including the initial publisher material: too short for such a topic. Some pages have graphic panels without any text. As such, the content, while accurate and comprehensive, also feels superficial, with only a brief glimpse of the trauma that awaited the Chernobyl victims. It flits across various issues without going deeper into most. The main focus of the book is to point fingers at those who created the disaster, directly or indirectly, but I would have liked an equal focus to be on the victims as well. The human, animal, and environmental cost of the disaster is still being paid today, but this isn’t covered in that much detail.

The illustrations work in favour of the storyline. The blue and yellow colour palette, probably to doff a hat to the Ukrainian flag colours (with Chernobyl being in present-day Ukraine), also serves to lessen the visual brutality of the more severe effects of the explosion and subsequent radiation. The scenes are scary enough to watch even with this muted colour tone. A few of the words in the background illustration are in Russian; I wish the English edition had the translated version of these as well.

In short, this is a heartbreaking yet impactful graphic novel depicting a catastrophe that took place almost four decades ago but that continues to affect lives today. To those who have already read nonfiction novels on Chernobyl such as Adam Higginbotham’s ‘Midnight in Chernobyl’ or Svetlana Alexievich’s ‘Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster’ (both of which are on my TBR list), or have watched the HBO miniseries, this graphic version might not add much. But it would be a great option to readers seeking broad information on the catastrophe without wanting to invest too much time.

Needless to add, this graphic novel is only for adults. Too many disturbing events in here for younger hearts.

4 stars.

My thanks to Palazzo Editions and NetGalley for the DRC of “Chernobyl: The Fall of Atomgrad”. This review is voluntary and contains my honest opinion about the book.

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Pretty cool art, used to tell a fascinating story. However, if you aren't already familiar with some of the people and background of the Chernobyl disaster, you may find yourself a bit lost in places. It's difficult to tell who is who in the drawings, and there's a bit of jumping around which adds to the confusion. Still, a neat graphic novel.

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Firstly, the illustrations in this graphic novel are incredible. The limited colour palette works perfectly and I really liked the level of detail, particularly in the buildings. This drawing style alone would be enough to send me looking for more work from Matyáš Namai.

I am aware of the Chernobyl disaster and know a little about what happened but I had no idea about the level of corruption and deception involved in the planning and building of the plants, though I can't honestly say I was surprised. I was also appalled, though again not surprised, at the lengths officials went to, in the early days after the explosion, to cover up the scale of the disaster and the complete disregard for the lives of the plant, rescue and clean-up workers involved.

I found this a really informative and interesting read.

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