Friday, September 15, 2017

The Shattered by MDPenman


In The Shattered, the second graphic novel in MDPenman's Eimurian Tales series, we meet Malwynn, a young man haunted by a tragic past and tormented by an abusive father.  Living in
Caldwell Valley has never been particularly easy for Malwynn, but despite his friend, Saramak's repeated invitations to leave, he chooses to stay as punishment for the death of his mother.

While going into the village to get more spirits for his brutal father, Malwynn discovers a shatter, a crack between his and the world of the mysterious Shadir.  As he watches, a person emerges and runs away.  Curious, he leaves some food for the stranger.  A friendship quickly begins to form between Malwynn and Dythur, the Shadir.  But how long will he be able to keep her existence a secret, and what is she running from?

The Facts

Author: MDPenman
Genre: Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Graphic Novel/Dark Fantasy
Length: 90 pages
Publisher: MDPenman
Date of Publication: September 6, 2017

My Opinion

I haven't read a lot of dark fantasy, but I enjoyed reading this.  The beginning isn't exactly light, emotionally, but the real gore and horror caught me by surprise, which was refreshing.  I feel like this was a pretty decent semi-introduction to the genre.

I've followed MDPenman's work for years and I think he's definitely come a long way, both as an artist and a storyteller.  His art style is pretty distinctive, not what you're going to see in most mainstream comics out there.  His work and style tend to be playful, even when dark, presenting as sort of a Gorillaz/Mike Mignola/One Piece kind of mashup.

The Good

The storytelling is fast-paced and dynamic.  You could sit down, read the whole novel and not feel like you've spent much time at all once you get caught up in the story.  The narrative is also self-contained, so if this is the first of the Eimurian Tales you've read (like myself), you won't find yourself lost in Penman's developing world.

I think one of my favorite visuals was Penman's depiction of Mallory, Malwynn's father.  Rather than give the warrior a face, it's kept in angry shadow, with only two bright, frightening eyes staring out.  It's a great metaphor for Malwynn's emotional relationship with the man.

The Not So Good

This is going to sound lame, but if anything, I wish the book was longer.  The ending isn't exactly a cliff hanger, but definitely points to future adventures.  However, because each story has been stand-alone so far, it may be a while before I find out what happens to Malwynn, Dythur and Saramak.

I should also point out that this is the first book I've reviewed so far that has not passed the Bechdel test.

Should You Read This Book?

God yes.

Aside from the fact that this book is independently published, a fun read and awesome, you can check it out on your own, risk free!  You can read both the first book, The Waterbringer and The Shattered over at the Eimurian Tales website, and if you find you like them, MDPenman has print copies available for sale.

Other Useful Information:

Bechdel Test: Does Not Pass
Helpful Tropes: Abusive Parents, Blood Knight, Conflicting Loyalty, Dark and Troubled PastFantastic Angst, Fantastic Racism, Humans Are the Real Monsters,
Links: Patreon, Twitter, Facebook

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