Ye is named after the lead character, a teenager who only utters the single word that provides his name. Happy at home working in his village fields, he’s afflicted with what his parents and other locals refer to as the King’s Breath, a condition that leaves a stain on the soul. Those afflicted must be careful to contain their anger and fear, which can overwhelm them. Ye’s only chance of a cure is to locate the old witch Miranda.

It’s best not to come to Ye with too many expectations, nor to try to look too deeply into what seems symbolic and allegorical, yet ultimately is just a whimsical and enjoyable trip through the narrative trope of the hero’s journey with a single message. Guilherme Petreca doesn’t tell Ye’s story chronologically, instead showing us Ye meeting Miranda before we learn that’s his destination. Perhaps that’s for the best as far as young readers are concerned, because he has some fearsome troubles along the way, and some of the people he meets are depicted a little too scarily for a younger audience that doesn’t know he survived his meeting with them.

Petreca’s storytelling is meandering, and his drawing style charming, the strange looking magicians, pirates and clowns ideally suited as Ye stumbles from one adventure to another, always a passive character containing his fear and anger. Petreca’s storytelling is very individual, using space for pauses, and having no fear of wordless sequences. Both contribute to Ye being a relatively quick reading experience despite the page count. Another technique applied is magical realism, used in the way Ye’s location shifts abruptly and in his final confrontation, the one that is symbolic. Like all of us, Ye must confront and overcome his own fears to become complete.

A simple story well told is always a pleasure, and Ye hits that mark.