By Mark Angelides
At times a very bleak portrayal of a post-apocalyptic future, there are odd elements of hope that keep Avinon positive and up-beat; especially the growing relationships between characters. Avinon is a great, quick read for fans of sci-fi and fantasy. It has some classic “old-school” elements like scavenging for tech and an authoritarian regime, but also introduces some new concepts which I found very engaging.
The whole story is tied together nicely with some amazing artwork. The pictures, although occasionally cartoonish in nature, are superbly done and interspersed at just the right moments to give you a more complete vision of the plot. There’s plenty of action and adventure, coupled with an intriguing story (hints of a “quest”?), and an interesting prose style.
A good start to Earth’s Final Chapter.
Captain Taylor: The Starship Ceu
The story kicks off with a mystery, an unknown object. It’s a good sequel to Avinon that takes place mostly in outer space. Lots of tension and intrigue (especially among the crew members) keep the story moving forward, and the plot moves along nicely giving the reader clues en route. As with Avinon, we catch glimpses of the state of the world in the aftermath of the war, which fit together to make a clearer picture of the disastrous future.
A lot of themes are coming out of the series so far, and hopefully the writers won’t let too many of the threads go “unpulled.” This volume delves a lot deeper into the minds of the character which gives the whole thing a more serious feel, but it’s a fun read that sets you up for the next mystery well.
The change in writers gives the Brother Leon volume a very different feel which fits in well with the change in direction of the story. This part revolves around an almost medieval Europe with remnants of sci-fi tech still in use and an intriguing monk. The story elements from the different volumes finally start to entwine which makes this one of the best of the series at giving a “bigger picture”.
Taking place in different locations, the story follows what happens “at home” and also on Brother Leon’s perilous journey. It’s a good deal more graphic than the previous two volumes, but an excellent addition.
The fourth volume in Earth’s Final Chapter has a very different feel to it in terms of character development and getting to know the different people. The Kay character is a real trooper that keeps you turning pages, in anticipation of the next key to her history. In some ways it’s a sad book as it examines what a life of slavery can do to a person, but the gritty characters keep it fast-paced.
The artwork for this volume is of a very different style. A lot more “savage” in interpretation, but it fits in well with the bloodiness of the plot. With a fantastic and gory finale, this is my firm favorite of the series so far.
Chibuzo is a great ending to the first volume of Earth’s Final Chapter. Not only a classic tale in the fashion of Patrick O’Brian, but a sci-fi adventure that is chock-full of colourful characters and swashbuckling adventures. In this volume, we see a different part of the “world moved on” as Chibuzo and co. go in search of something that may not even exist. Because of the odd (but well-written) characters in this tale, the graphics are really needed. They look great and help create a better feel for the story.
There is something climactic about this last book; it sets the scene for all the characters to come back into play in the next series. Each book has ended right on the cusp of a larger adventure and I look forward to seeing what happens next.