A Graphic Novel by Tristan Roulot & art by Mateo Guerrero
Europe Comics always seems to publish quality middle-grade fantasy books all the time. Titles like Hematite and Magic successfully walk that tightrope of both being suitable for younger readers and compelling for older ones, and this newest book, The Forest of Time – Book 1 Children of the Stone by Tristan Roulot & Mateo Guerrero is no different. Set in a magical village where time has stopped, ultimately making the townspeople stay young forever, everyone seems to be some sort of gifted scientist making said city VERY advanced for a medieval fantasy setting. Our heroes have that magical utopia ripped from them as the catalyst for that timeless state is stolen right out from under them. Five of them band together and face mortality in order to protect their magical way of life.
“Deep in the heart of an enchanted forest, a small village of children lives unaffected by the passage of time thanks to a powerful stone that protects them from it. But when the stone is shattered and a thief runs off with one of the shards, four of the children must set out at once in search of the missing shard before their village is swallowed up by time and everybody in it dies. Armed with four crystals with special powers, the children bravely make their way through the dangerous forest to hunt down the thief, making friends and enemies along the way and encountering one strange creature after another.”
One thing I enjoyed were the subtle references to alchemical terms and Hermeticism (For example, toasting to Hermes Trismegistus). all things I wasn’t prepared to see in what I would consider somewhat of a kid’s book. I won’t claim any sort of authority on it, but I was, at one time, fairly well-read on all manner of esoterica, and my ears perk up when I see even the vaguest references to it. These small details, the gorgeous character design artwork, and the sense of wonder found in this book are a testament to the world-building that all of the creators put into this. Rather than make a bog-standard kid’s fantasy book, care was taken to add some flair to this and make it something entirely different.
This is part one of what I assume will be at least two volumes, and for the most part we do not get much here aside from an introduction to the characters and an establishment of the main conflict at had. It’s a short read, but keeps you engrossed the entire time, and if you are like me you will be interested to see more as it ends just as everything was getting good. The story does have some pacing issues at times, but that honestly could be the translation, and is pretty minor. Overall, I enjoyed this and want to finish the story up whenever I get the chance.
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NOTE: I received a free preliminary, and likely unedited copy of this book from Netgalley for the purposes of providing an honest, unbiased review of the material. Thank you to all involved.