Saturday, September 12, 2015

Muirwood: The Lost Abbey (Legends of Muirwood), by Jeff Wheeler (author), Matthew Sturges (author), Dave Justus (illustrator), Alex Sheikman (illustrator), Lizzy John (illustrator)

Jet City Comics, ISBN 9781503935068, August 2015

This is the first volume of a graphic novel; the fifth and final volume is scheduled for December 2015, so this should be eligible for the Hugo Awards in 2016.

Maia is the one-beloved, now banished and imprisoned daughter of the King of Comoros. Maia's offense is that her father tired of her mother, put her aside, and took a new wife.

Less well-known is that Maia, in defiance of the laws of Comoros, has been taught to read, and to do magic. Her father has also banished all the magic workers in the kingdom, and that hasn't worked out as well for him as the new wife. Comoros has grown dark and dangerous, and the king believes the magic wielders left a curse behind them. He has summoned Maia back to the palace because he's decided that she's the perfect person to undo the curse by traveling to a hidden abbey where the late chief councilor's book of magic is concealed, and use it to destroy the remaining magic.

Maia is not impressed by this proposed course of action, but eventually decides it's her own best option. She'll be free, more or less, for months, and who knows what could happen in the meantime? Especially since she has that same late chief councilor's Kystrel, a magic talisman.

I really wanted to like this. There's a lot to like about Maia--smart, independent-minded, not quick to be her father's puppet, and kind to others.

Unfortunately, the art is okay, but no more than okay. The plot so far is a bit strained and improbable. And then there's the use, or abuse, of the English language.

I'll offer only one example. There are magic stones throughout the palace that provide heat, light, and perhaps other conveniences at the request of users. Apparently they work for anyone.

They are called "leerings." There is no suggestion of any back story or context to make sense of this bizarre usage. It's not the only instance of using a word to mean something that makes no sense at all; it's just the one that made me wince the most.

Not recommended.

I  received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.