The Golden Age. Book 1 by Roxanne Moreil, illustrated by Cyril Pedrosa. Translation by Montana Kane. First Second, 2020. 9781250237941
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
What did you like about the book? The first book in a proposed duology, this French import is a stunner of an epic fantasy graphic novel. Princess Tilda is set to assume the throne after her father dies. But, through the machinations of her mother, Tilda’s evil little brother takes the reins, and Tilda is cast out. She escapes with her faithful assistants, the wise Tankred and young Bertil. Throughout the long, desperate flight through forests and feudal estates, Tilda keeps experiencing visions and bleeding from her palms, omens of terrible things to come. She had wanted to reform the cruel feudal system in Antrevers, but those in power want war and oppression. The peasants have heard of a book titled “The Golden Age,” which tells of a time long past where all people were equal and land was shared – “no masters, no slaves.” Instead of seeing Tilda as a booster of this revolutionary idea, she is demonized for her royal blood. Her character is a legendary character that has echoes of Jeanne d’Arc. The book ends with a cliffhanger which will leave Moreil’s fans desperate and bereft, but hopeful for a conclusion.
The story is well paced and clearly builds the world and story in a setting that resembles medieval France. The amazing art is what brings the story to vivid life. Pedrosa uses gorgeous deep, dramatic colors with a woodcut-like effect, with grand sweeping natural vistas in which the eccentric Goya-like characters enact their human drama. Fine details in the natural backdrop form a successful counterpoint to the more simply drawn humans. Outlining is done with contrasting hues, not black, and creates an other worldly effect.
Anything you didn’t like about it? Only that we have to wait for the sequel!
To whom would you recommend this book? For lovers of epic graphic fantasy, ages 14 and up.
Who should buy this book? High schools and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Adult graphic novels
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: February 20, 2020