Well, I finally got my hands on the 3rd issue of Richelle Mead and Grant Alter’s Storm Born series, and I just devoured it. In this installment we follow freelance shaman Eugenie Markham, known also as Odile, into the dangerous Otherworld, as she attempts to find and rescue kidnapped Jasmine Delaney from the fairy-like beings called the Gentry. To do this, Eugenie has to cross into the Otherworld with her own physical body, rather than doing it psychically. This presents an extra danger for Markham, so she enlists the help of her fiends/enslaved and cursed souls who are forced to do what she says. Volusian, a demon-looking soul who is “about as damned as a soul could be,” has a love-hate relationship with Eugenie, except without the love part. He is enslaved to her and bound to protect her, but he makes no secret of his disdain. We meet another soul, less a slave and more an indentured servant, named Nandi. Nandi is a tormented soul cursed to roam the earth in endless suffering, but has agreed to serve Markham for three years in return for peace. Finn is the final member of the entourage who is a fun, pixie-looking being with a big mouth, who mainly just hangs around because he thinks it’s fun. And, together they head off into the Otherworld to find this missing girl.
The story moves along at a quick pace and is completely engaging, even for a reader (me) who hasn’t read the novels this is based on. The dialogue is slick and smart, and the art keeps pace. For some reason, while we are in the real world, the art seems sufficient but not entirely exciting; however, as soon as we enter the Otherworld with Eugenie, the art comes alive and practically leaps off the page. The story definitely goes in some fun places, and Mead and Alter don’t shy away from the graphic content. Sex and violence are a part of this world, and we get some unblinking views of both, and I am not complaining in the least bit.
Departing from the horror/detective genre that the first two issues played in, this third issue deals heavily in medieval fantasy, and that is exactly what I like about this story. Mead seems to have no problem jumping around into various genres, exploring the different tropes, and moving on into whatever else she wants to deal with. It makes for an exciting and unpredictable journey and will keep this reader coming back, for sure!