Inverloch Vol. 1

I must admit: "Inverloch" is very pretty. Its writer and artist, Sarah Ellerton, uses an anime-influenced style that lends a sense of warmness to the characters. Her use of colors is also worth acclaim, making a palette made up mostly of various shades of brown and green seem vibrant and beautiful.

As for the plot...well, what I read was only the first volume of a webcomic series, so it starts off a little slow. We are first introduced to Kayn'dar and Shiara, two young elves playing in the woods. But Kayn'dar is kidnapped by a mysterious individual for reasons unknown. We then shift twelve years into the future, where we are introduced to our hero, Acheron. Acheron is a young da'kor, a race of creatures that look something like a bipedal wolves with tiny goat horns. While searching for mushrooms one day in the forest, he encounters Shiara and is smitten. Deciding to either ease her suffering or give her closure, he swears to her he'll find out what happened to Kayn'dar. The rest of the volume deals with his first experiences outside his village, dealing with humans who think of da'kor as fearful monsters.

I liked Acheron as a character. He's brave, caring, and kind, but is also incredibly naive. He doesn't know very much about the world around him, and he can't fight or hunt very well (something that sets him apart from his fellow da'kor). He shows much potential for development.

Something that bothered me was the treatment of the da'kor. It seems somewhat inconsistent how Sarah Ellerton wants them to be seen. Acheron is portrayed as being different from the other young male da'kors, in that he is not violent. But we never really see (at least in this volume) any violent da'kors, with the exception of Acheron's older brother, who just seems ax crazy when he talks joyfully about killing a human hunter and putting his head on a spike. There is also mention that the violence of the da'kors is highly exagerrated in the human and elven communities around them, and that the da'kors may be a relatively peaceful race forced into xenophobic action by encroaching neighbors. Plus, all of the da'kors just frankly look too cute to be seriously considered monsters.

I also disliked how a major surprise (that would probably be dealt with in the next volume) is totally ruined by the author's notes in the back of the book, which mentions it flat out.I'm surprised Sarah Ellerton was unable to catch it. Also, the name "Inverloch" *(which is the name of the elven city) just seems strange, as the characters never once actually go there, at least in this volume. But perhaps that will be resolved in future volumes.

All in all, it's a promising start and the art is very pretty, so it deserves to be at least checked out by the curious. I plan on seeing where the plot goes in the future with much interest.

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