Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Graphic Novel/Fantasy
Length: 192 pages
Publisher: Insight Editions
Release Date: April 19, 2016
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: eGalley from NetGalley.com for Review
Rating: 4/5 stars
“In the sprawling citadels of the Underworld, deep within the vast libraries of Voxxingard, a curator sits. Staring at an empty tome, he ponders the puzzle that has been laid out before him by his Master, the shepherd of souls known as Death — a question deceptive in its simplicity, “What is the purpose of the realm of the dead?”
To answer this, the curator must write a journal chronicling the rise of the Underworld and the history of the never-ending war of Heaven and Hell. From the lowest scavenger of corpses to the highest chancellor, all those within the Underworld must be questioned and examined. For what is the purpose of the land of the Dead? Is it a haven for the refugee spirits of the mortal world? A sinister part of the celestial war machine that threatens to consume reality itself? Or does it instead serve to bring true balance to the long abandoned promises of Heaven and Hell? Accompany Death’s curator on his strange journey as he unravels the most terrible and wonderful secrets found within the Court of the Dead.”
I got this to review through NetGalley. This was an incredibly creative book with some beautiful illustration throughout. This book is basically a tour of and guide to the Underworld. We meet the members of the Court of the Dead and learn about different factions there. The book is broken up into sections about the court, factions, daily life in the land of the dead, and the relation of the land of the dead to human and celestial realms.
This is very much a coffee table type of book. It’s fun to read little sections of the book at a time and the history of the Underworld has been very thoroughly fleshed out and shows excellent creativity and imagination.
This is probably not the type of book you want to sit down and read all at once. For all it’s creativity this is a book of facts about the Underworld. There is a bit of story here about how Death came to rule the Underworld and some hints of a story about wars and rebellions that have plagued the Underworld. That being said it is primarily a book of imagined facts and the reading can get a bit dry at times. The amount of information (albeit imaginary) thrown at the reader is a bit overwhelming too.
The illustration is well done and ranges from sketched out black and white drawings to fully fleshed out beautiful color renditions of this world. In the color plates the tones tend toward teals and purples for the most part; lending a dark atmosphere to this book about the Underworld. Some of the members of the court we meet are fairly disturbing; so I would recommend for older YA and adult readers.
Overall this was a creative and well done book that introduces readers to the Underworld. The world explored here is very well fleshed out but more of a dictation of facts than a story. As such I think it is best read in small doses; otherwise all these facts can get a bit overwhelming and boring. The illustration is beautiful. This would be a great coffee table type art book for those interested in dark fantasy. I would recommend taking a look at some of the art before buying to see if it appeals to you.