4 out of 4 stars
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Traevon Marquis Chandler’s The Last King of the Grand Capital is a unique science fiction graphic novel that takes readers on a journey through a brand new world. While I, of course, haven’t read every single graphic novel or science fiction book, I can say that this particular one is unlike any of those which I’ve previously read. The story primarily takes place in the realm of the living, in a world called Harukia, with occasional chapters set in a realm called The Gate, where the god-like extraterrestrial Jin and his guardian wolves ensure that all gates between the realms of Anti-life and Life remain closed.
This graphic novel is the first part of a series to come, and therefore, the plot is really the set-up of what will happen next. We are introduced to all of the main characters such as Eos, the child king Nyei’s advisor, Kai and Lily, two Grandians (those destined to save the world), and Raia and Pathos, Eos’ friends who live in the city’s slums. It has been foreshadowed that war will come to Harukia when the creatures in Anti-life break through the gates and invade.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars because the story is very original and the writing and illustrations work well in graphic novel format. When reading science fiction, it can sometimes be difficult to follow all of the new terms, places, characters, etc. I appreciated that Chandler made a point to dedicate the beginning of the book to explaining the history of the realms and the context of the story. This background information was essential to understanding both the plot and the several illustrations that weren’t accompanied by dialogue or narration.
Furthermore, I applaud Chandler for both creating such a complex fictional world and illustrating it as well, as it’s surely not an easy task to accomplish both. The story itself is easy to follow and the illustrations are just as important as the dialogue, so readers should be sure to look at every detail. While it is impossible to say for certain, given that this book is only part one of the story, it seems to me that there will be some parallels drawn between today’s social and political problems and those of the world of Harukia, despite the science fiction aspects of the book. For example, the slums of The Grand Capital and the sentiments of the people who live there in contrast with the middle and wealthy classes who live in the Capital Noble District surely offers some lessons for us today.
If you like graphic novels and if you enjoy science fiction, chances are you’ll like reading the first installment of this series. The Last King of the Grand Capital is certainly a unique read with interesting illustrations and a thoroughly-developed plot designed to keep you reading the next few issues.
The Last King of the Grand Capital
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