Review: Snapback Volume 1: Fuseki | Arts + Culture | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

Review: Snapback Volume 1: Fuseki

by Christian DeWolf (

Go is a war-like strategy game popular in Korea and China played with black and white stones on a 19x19 grid—it is not Chinese checkers. The game is at the heart of Christian DeWolf's Snapback Volume 1: Fuseki, along with Felix and his gang of Go fanatic friends at their Annapolis Valley High School. Shortly, an old friend of Felix's, the very rich and very cocky Ellison Rath, appears and sweeps the characters up, relationship troubles and all, into an energetic adventure to Osaka to see just how deep the secretive world of Go really is.

It's a tightly wrought first installment in what will be a longer serialized story, coming in just under 65 pages, told mostly through brisk dialogue with occasional manga-esque illustration. This all gives the work a pulpy lightness and airy quality akin to that of a Japanese light novel, making the terse format more of a strength than a weakness. There are some drawbacks: Much of the setpieces are laid out sans detailed description, which can be bewildering at times. But the dialogue is punchy, the characters diverse and likeable, and it's a book that's better for starting off in the familiarity of local Nova Scotia and then gradually unspooling its refreshing east Asian elements. Snapback Volume 1: Fuseki offers just enough of a shot of teenage boardgame conspiracy to keep you curious about the next installment.

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