September 30, 2009
Gyojeong Kwon – Netcomics – 2009 – 4+ volumes
YES. I got absolutely everything I wanted in this volume. The clear buildup in volume 1 pays off here in the form of a very romantic and tragic relationship, and the prologue section of the story finishes up spectacularly. When the final levels of light and dark magic were explained, I have to admit I saw the ending coming just a little, but that didn’t make it any less effective.
It was so effective, in fact, that I didn’t want the main story to start after it was done. I wanted the story of Lazarus and the Great Ferat to keep going, despite the events that happened. It ended exactly how it needed to, but even so. It’s a shame to waste a good romance like that one. I was quite attached to both of them.
The one thing I was having trouble working out for myself through the series of predictions the Gaderins were making was how, precisely, the dragon was summoned since it was very firmly established that the characters in the story so far have nothing to do with it. That’s left up in the air as a tantalizing mystery as the main story starts.
The prologue is made into the stuff of legends as the story starts in a village as far removed from the world of sorceres, magic, and prophecy as can be. The citizens in the village have no idea about Gaderins and magic and whatnot, and have their own legends, disbelieving “wise men.” Or whatever. The actual main characters in the story appear, Det and his friend Osen. They are pretty average boys leading pretty average lives in their small town, and eventually, while setting up a house for a sort of low-level sorcerer, the first Det has ever seen, he is struck with a strong wanderlust and he and Osen set out on adventure in the end.
Once again, the story with Det and Osen here mostly felt like exposition, but after the payoff at the beginning of this volume, I’m willing to consume all the exposition this series cares to give me. My copy of volume 3 hasn’t arrived, but I’m quite excited to continue reading as things move into a more adventure-monster-slaying atmosphere. And a character I’m still attached to is still floating around, so I hope that they somehow become connected to the party later on, too.
Excellent stuff. Pick it up if you’re at all inclined towards shoujo fantasy.
September 27, 2009
Gyojeong Kwon – Netcomics – 2008 – 4+ volumes
I knew I would like this series as soon as I saw it start on Netcomics. I love girly fantasy in all its forms, and this series just oozes everything I like about the genre. It’s a shame it took me so long to pick up the first volume.
Now, the one downside to this volume is that it is very clearly setting up the rules for a much longer story. I was surprised to find that the titular “Det” was nowhere to be found. The story in this book is part of a prologue called “The Tale of the Feramores.” It features two characters, a dark sorcerer named Lazarus and a powerful light sorcerer and prophet called only by her title of Ferat. Ferat is the title given to the greatest of the Feramores, a race of what appear to be gigantic women that give up their magical abilities in order to see the future. Ferat is a Feramore/Human that, incredibly, can practice powerful light magic while being able to see into the far future, farther than any other Feramore in history.
What we get here is a kind of subtle love story between Lazarus and Ferat that begins as a relationship where each mutually benefits from the other by teaching what they’ve mastered of either light or dark magic. Both are apparently the highest level practitioners in the country for their respective art, and each gains levels in the other type of magic far faster than any other sorcerer. Neither really reveals much about their studies to others, which leaves Lazarus’s clan to believe he is still strong, rather than freakishly advanced and on the final level of dark magic. The relationship between Lazarus and Ferat is slow, and we mostly see it from Lazarus’s point of view, who doesn’t realize he’s in love until he is forced to leave the Feramore enclave briefly. Their subtle gestures to one another are quite nice, as is the slow pace of their conversation and the topics they cover.
Amidst this, we also have to deal with a prophecy that Ferat sees at the beginning of the book which basically calls for the apocalypse of most via an unnamed sorcerer summoning an evil dragon that destroys everything. One of the reasons to keep Lazarus’s level secret is that people will suspect him as the summoner and kill him before it happens, despite the fact Lazarus himself confirms he has no way to summon the dragon, nor the motivation. Later, some begin to suspect the Ferat summons it for love of Lazarus, or to stop the prophecy of the destroyed Feramore compound from happening. As of the end of the book, we do not know.
The downside is that a big part of the book is composed of conversations between Ferat and Lazarus discussing the minutae of dark and light magic, something that I have no reason to care about now, but will probably become very important later. It can be a little mundane getting through all that, but I still enjoyed it immensely despite the magic lesson I was recieving. The art is also a little stiff, but I also felt this lent itself to the back-and-forth conversations between Lazarus and Ferat and the overall light mood the volume seemed to keep despite the dark prophecy.
It’s a well-constructed fantasy with a subtle romance worked in. And this is just the prologue. Half of the prologue, really, maybe less. I am going to read the second volume right now, and I’m really excited about where this series will go. I would encourage you, if you are at all interested, to try it out on the Netcomics website, which is both extremely easy and very cheap. I think it’s still coming out in Korea, and I suspect the Netcomics serialization has caught up to the current position of the series, but in the meantime, read the three available volumes. I think the third one has just come out or will be coming out very soon.