Monday, February 09, 2015

Booknote: Daomu

Kennedy Xu, Daomu. Burbank, CA: Magnetic Press, 2014. ISBN: 9780991332489. 

Genre: graphic novels and comics.
Subgenre: adventure, horror.
Format: e-book.
Source: Netgalley (provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review).

"Very few things can make  you feel so insignificant as a new world beyond your comprehension." --From Daomu.

The best way to describe this one is as a horror and adventure tale. This graphic novel reads a lot like an Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider adventure, so it may appeal to fans of those character. However, it also has a dark horror element not unlike Resident Evil, especially with one of the tomb hunting groups that can remind us of Umbrella Corporation. The book's description states that is is based on a bestselling Chinese novel series, "Daomu Journals," which is about tomb robbers (or raiders or explorers depending on how you look at it). I also learned there is a whole genre of tomb robber novels in China. This book is written by Kennedy Xu, who as I learned, is quite well regarded in his homeland.

The tombs are part of a worldwide tomb system dating from a distant and mystical time; artifacts and coffins in the tombs can grant enormous powers to those who find them. Individuals, clans, and corporations all seek these tombs. Some seek them to protect them. Others seek them to plunder them, and some others seek them to keep harmony and a balance between man and nature. This last group are the Daomu. Our protagonis, Sean Wu, is now pulled into this world to join the Daomu.

The novel presents a very rich setting as Sean discovers a whole new world. The lore of the tombs is developed with good details. The story provides a heavy blend of action and horror as Sean strives to learn his true place in the Daomu. He is not sure who he can trust, let alone if he can even trust anyone. Meanwhile, everyone is seeking this particular tomb, and a deadly, other worldly assassin is on the loose.

The story has a good pace for readers. It draws you in right away. Art uses a somewhat photorealistic style, and it makes strong use of shadows. The lettering style can vary, and in some moments, it faded (to convey a character is thinking). The lettering fade was a bit of an  issue as it made reading those passages a bit difficult because the letters blended in the shadows. I am not sure how it will translated in a print version, but in the electronic version it was a problem that made for some difficulty in reading at times. At 244 pages, this is a substantial graphic novel. The front cover's painted artwork is quite well done, which I hope will look sharper in the print edition. The book also features some additional bonuses such as concept artwork and character files.

As I mentioned above, if you like Indiana Jones and Lara Croft, you will likely enjoy this. Horror readers may enjoy it as well as the book falls within the horror and suspense genre. This certainly can make a good addition for libraries with comics and graphic novels collections; I think it would add some variety to such collections.

In the end, it is one I really liked, so I am giving it 4 out of 5 stars.

On a final note, I visited the publisher website, and I found they had a trailer for this book. Feel free to check it out.

Daomu Trailer - Complete edition (MagneticPress/Evertold) from Neurobellum on Vimeo.

The book qualifies for the following 2015 Reading Challenges:

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