Natty is a princess of the flower caste, who lives in seclusion in the upper reaches of her family's palace. Her days of boredom and loneliness come to an end when she is told she must choose as a husband one of the two princes who have come to seek her hand. Natty refuses to marry either of them, and the princes threaten war on the flower kingdom unless the insult is remedied by Natty committing ritual suicide. The princess escapes and has nowhere to hide but the darker streets of the kingdom below, inhabited by the Untouchables.
Raised on the stories of the court, Natty has been taught that her beauty will wither if an Untouchable so much as looks upon her. However, when she is befriended by one of them, a young man named Sami, she learns that the disease that disfigures them is actually caused by the lack of sunlight in the lower quarters of the kingdom. Sami is less afflicted than most because he travels to the surface to sell psychotropic mushrooms to the courtiers. Now the two of them must come up with a plan to have Natty pardoned so she can return to the surface.
Created by the prolific French writer, Eric Corbeyran, Natty is a story about privilege and inequality that would be suitable for younger readers (aged 10 and up) as well as adults. The art is beautiful, with so many little details that make the world seem more real. It makes an interesting change to see a fantasy story that seems to be inspired by Hindu mythology instead of yet another faux Medieval European setting. It will probably appeal to fans of Bone and Nimona.
Natty's adventures continue in Natty Volume 2, which is now available for Kindle.