Full disclosure: I’ve never read the Ewilan’s Quest novels by Pierre Bottero that this graphic novel is based on. In fact, I picked up The Quest of Ewilan, Book One: From One World to Another purely because of the beautiful front cover and a one-paragraph description that sounded intriguing. So, I had little-to-no expectations going in.
The story follows a teenage orphan named Camille who lives with a rich, but strict, family in France. Camille is a bit of a daydreamer, often getting lost in her own fantasies. This becomes all the more literal when she and her friend, Salim, are transported to a mysterious world ruled over by reptilian monsters, where magic is created from imagination. The two have to survive in this new world while also uncovering Camille’s connection to it.
As far as the plot goes, you’ve got a pretty standard fantasy adventure in The Quest of Ewilan. A young girl discovers a different world and must go on an adventure to master her powers, so she can defeat an ancient evil. That simple plot, however, leaves the story open to innovate in different ways. The characters are three-dimensional, and the world they inhabit feels distinct from other fantasy epics like Dragonlance or Lord of the Rings.
Then, there’s the artwork! It’s vibrant, energetic, and full of life. The artist subtly depicts the “real” world as muted grays, whites, and pale yellows while the fantasy world Camille visits is a wild mix of saturated colors. The tricky balance when doing this sort of contrast is not making the real world visually boring or the fantasy world an eyesore of random colors, but this artist strikes the balance. The result is beautiful visuals that raise both tension and excitement in the narrative.
Everything is exceptionally well written and drawn, and the story never dragged. If I had any critique, it would be that no one moment in the story stood out as revolutionary or exceedingly different. Then again, not every story needs to shake the foundations of its genre. Fantasy, especially prior to the rise of Game of Thrones, has experienced a dearth of new and exciting content, so I’m not going to complain about a competent fantasy epic.
The Quest of Ewilan: Book One – From One World to Another easily gets a recommendation, especially if you’re a fan of the fantasy genre. It’s also a great read for younger audiences. If you have kids who haven’t quite reached Lord of the Rings age, this book may be exactly what you’ve been looking for.
Creative Team: Lylian (Writer), Laurence Baldetti (Artist), Loïc Chevallier (Colorist)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
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