When you look back at the media that resonates with you today, where did it begin? I first delved into fantasy literature with the Dragonlance series, often quoting Sturm Brightblade with friends at school. (Yeah, we were that cool.) My first true RPG was Chrono Trigger for the Super Nintendo. In the years since, though, I have read such a wide variety of fantasy lit and played an equally impressive list of other games, yet I still hold those as seminal works for my inspiration. When I create things, I attempt to build something that can emulate that first feeling for me, something that may not be the best, but would be good enough to bring someone into a world that they may not have experienced before.
Sourya credits DragonQuest as a game that they love, trying to build a story in Talli that makes them feel like that game did. A mix of humor and breathtaking action, Sourya nails the tone in this very well-paced, deep story. We come upon the story as Talli is escaping for their life, and during the course of her exodus, she meets fantastically colorful characters who manage to grow her party to a standard RPG size. Sourya uses the technique of character-leads-to-character, much like in Star Wars, where the world opens to you through natural introductions taking place on the run. The balance of the world-building and plot movement is right on the money, never letting the tension sag too much by “casting exposition,” while still adding enough detail to allow us as readers to be drawn into the world. Talli’s powers and history are woven through the action of the chase well enough that you never tire of either, and the tonal shifts allow for wonderful tension breaks that allow us to take a breath before diving in once again. Each character that Talli meets as the story hums along is wonderfully distinct and over-the-top, leading to big reveals and satisfying surprises when characters open a new facet of themselves and subvert the expectations of what would be trope-y characterizations.
Folks who like manga-style books will very much enjoy Talli; the panels are handled with incredible skill, keeping the reader’s eyes moving and directing the pace wonderfully. The feel of manga is very present, with overexaggerated expressions in comic moments to the searing and soul-gazing of “serious time.” A book in black and white, Sourya uses the shading and detail to really move the eye and even capture the sound of the book. There are not a lot of times that I feel like I can “hear” pictures (and the lettering obviously helps a great deal), but the images brought along with them a very full soundscape in my mind. The characters are all wonderfully detailed and designed. I fell in love with the beauty and quiet grace of Talli, the mischievous and erratic behavior of Pavel, and the quiet and slightly psychotic vacillation of Lelo. Each character has been lovingly crafted, and their ranges are simply superb.
For manga and anime fans, there’s a lot to love about Talli: Daughter of the Moon. Fans of fantasy world- and party-building are also in for a treat, as the book gives us so much good information on the world at large, and everyone’s place within it is revealed in creative and sometimes surprising ways. I found myself smiling often while reading, and the only way that I can describe the feeling of this book overall is delight. Talli: Daughter of the Moon is certain to put a smile on your face while delivering great world-building and expert-level story crafting. It reads much faster than its page count would suggest, and I cannot wait until the next volume drops.
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Creative Team: Sourya Sihachakr, (Writer, Illustrator), Francois Vigneault (Translation, Lettering), Carey Hall (Book Design), Zack Soto (Editor), Ankama Editions RUN (Editor)
Publisher: Oni-Lion Forge Publishing LLC.
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