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'Lone Star Soul, Book One: Soul Invitation' and 'Sketchbook & Companion Sourcebook' Reviews

 

Lone Star SoulLone Star Soul: Invitation is one of those books that sits on the fringes of your perception, yet never wades into the realm of perfect sense. You read it, you read it again, and you retrace your steps, not out of frustration but curiosity. It is liquid and impossible to pin down. Space age, messy, filled with music and poetry, Lone Star Soul is out there, and that's exactly where I want it to be.

MINOR SPOILERS BELOW


Lone Star Soul, Book One is about a man that travels a dying world to find his lost soul. Alone, and having forgotten who he is, he must walk the planet in order to rectify sins he cannot remember committing.


The Good

Music travels through this book. It has a wondrous musical quality, each line had a rhythm, and in that way the story was grounded. Much like Blaxploitation films of the '70s, the whole thing seemed to be grounded in rhythm, which I give the writers real credit for accomplishing in a literary format.

The art, full of colorful visuals of an alien world, was glorious in its abstractness. Brush strokes were in full view, lines were thick and demanding, dragging my eyes across the page. The planet seemed to be cloaked in an eternal sunset. Sometimes, the effect was disorienting, but the sense of alien aloneness was cultivated.


The Bad

The story's tempo was interrupted by awkward pages and hanging text, which explained away a lot of the mystery. Once I was pulled entirely out of the story by a random label of an otherwise unnamed body of water. Frankly, I would have loved to had these pages of explanation illustrated into full pages or simply left out, as I felt they were unnecessary.

The final few pages add a sense of urgency to the story and cleverly explain the hero's quest to both the hero and the reader, leading me to wonder why the use of dialogue, even internal dialogue, as exposition was not used earlier in the story.


My Verdict

Lone Star Soul reminded me of reading something from another older time, an epic tale, like Sir Gawain and  the Green Knight or Beowulf, where a hero must undertake an impossible journey to save his personal honor; the repetitions and musical qualities found in the book only enhanced this. The character's journey mirrors his own internal journey. While I feel at times the author beat me over the head with his idea, I also feel the parallels between the hero's personal quest for redemption and his quest to save a dying world were drawn well. If you’re looking for an out-there space epic, Lone Star Soul, Book One: Sole Invitation is the place to look. I am looking forward to seeing where the journey ends.



Lone Star Soul SketchbookBonus Round: Sketch & Companion Sourcebook Review


I have a confession. I have kind of a soft spot for art books. Maybe it is my own abysmal talents pining after what they will never be, nevertheless, I really liked the Sketchbook & Companion Sourcebook for Lone Star Soul.

The art book's sections show the artist's process in vivid detail. I found that the sketchy pencil work was better than the finished product; however, I tend to always think this about most comic book art.

I felt the pages of explanation, which didn’t really fit in the main book, found a home in the guide. The reason being that, in the book, they preyed upon the innocent reader, who might want to just figure things out for him/herself and interrupted flow.  In the guidebook, they acted as they should, they explained otherwise confusing aspects of the story, but did so without compromising the flow or integrity of the story.

Something I absolutely love is the soundtrack recommendations that the author provided for the reader, and I would love to see this integrated into the pages of his future work.

I recommend finishing the series before you dig into the companion book. It doesn’t contain spoilers persay, but I feel the explanations, drawings, and maps it does contain might pull something away from the story if you haven't read it yet.

 

 






To learn more about Max, please visit him at Maxwbeaulieu.com or follow him on Twitter, @maxwbeaulieu.





Last modified on Friday, 21 June 2013 01:34