What many people don’t know about me is that not only am I a board game reviewer and an avid Role-Playing gamer, I’m also a closeted graphic novel fan. Whilst I only own about fifty or so graphic novels in my physical collection, I own about four times that on my kindle and iPad. So, when Anthony Christou reached out to me about reviewing his fantasy graphic novel, I pitched the review to Attack On Geek, who, as fans of graphic novels and comics, were keen to have me write the piece as a guest post.
Having reviewed Luminous Ages, the game of the same name, I was intrigued by the graphic novel and wanted to dive into the world more.
The diverse characters and Dragon Gods that featured in the card game were stunning. The amount of personality Anthony managed to put into every character using just a simple picture was a major selling point for me. Actually, one of my only complaints at the time of playing it was that I wanted to know more about the characters. Yet I was afraid there was no real way of bringing them all together in a cohesive way. As the game contained dragons, animals, wizards, warriors, and more, it’ll be interesting to see if the graphic novel is able to integrate the characters and create meaningful interactions between them.
Luminous Ages is a beautifully constructed fantasy world where dreams manifest into reality through dream magic. The World is ruled by thirteen Dragon Gods that are fighting to control the dream plane and in turn reality. Whoever can control a majority of the fabled God artefacts, controls reality. However, the nightmare forces are rising to take control of the artefacts and the dream mages are fighting a losing battle to survive.
In Volume 1, we are taken on a journey to the planet of Ekratoria and join Thrakos and his companions as he discovers who his mother was and his powers as a dream mage. The book starts with Thrakos, a young farmer’s son discovering that his missing mother was a powerful dream mage. After realising he has been blessed with the same powers of his mother, ream mage, Arcturios, is sent to save Thrakos from turning to the nightmare and instruct his new apprentice on how to discover, use and master his newly found powers.
The Luminous Ages book has a beautiful pace to it. It moves quite effortlessly through the story with quick and excitingly paced action, to slower, more meaningful interactions that really add to the gravity or ‘meaningfulness’ of the story’s events.
There are several smaller subplots sprinkled throughout the book. These subplots introduce some really fascinating characters, including a glimpse into one of my favourite animals from the game. These subplots are short but truly gives you, the reader, a real taste of what is to come and some of the amazing characters still to be introduced. Not to mention, it allows us to see more of the world and get a better understanding of just how serious the situation on Ekratoria and the rest of Dream Realm truly is.
There are so many really clever touches to this book. Rather than just going with good vs evil, the graphic novel focuses on dreams vs nightmare. In essence, it is the same thing, but it allows for an added layer of depth to the story, as well as, provides the writer and artists more freedom to come up with a diverse character base as opposed to being stuck to the more generic types of fantasy characters.
Another thing I really liked, as a history and mythology lover, was the addition of an ancient civilsation’s fable being included in the story. The Labyrinth of Knossos of Crete features quite heavily in Volume 1, which I really loved as it is such an amazing story. You may be asking, how can you feature the setting from the fabled tale of Jason and the Golden Fleece in a book about dream mages? The novel explained that the Labyrinth was summoned from Crete when it stopped existing in it’s own world. The explanation adds a level of believability and made me think that there are going to be more fables from Greek and other ancient civilisations in future volumes.
Luminous Ages’ art is wonderful but it isn’t what you’d expect from a traditional comic book or graphic novel. The line work is heavy but includes soft edges and colour blending that give this novela look similar to that of a group of paintings rather than drawing. I know a few people will disagree with me on this art styling, but this particular style gives the images a dreamy feel to it.
I’m really not surprised that Luminous Ages is five years in the making, as the level of detail, love and passion put into it is breathtaking. I’m even less surprised that this book is the one of the most successful Australian made graphic novels in Kickstarter history.
Overall, Luminous Ages is an epic tale of fantasy adventure with a well crafted and cleverly developed world. It’s diverse and intriguing characters is told in a well-balanced and consistently paced story that’s full of action and adventure, combined with spectacular ‘gallery quality’ art. If this is the kind of graphic novel that captures your interest, then Luminous Ages is certainly one I would recommend you pick up.If you would like your own copy of Luminous Ages, it is available as a physical copy here or in two kindle parts, which can be picked up in the following links: