Foreword Reviews

Snowlands

A Blood Moon

Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5

Blending heroism, justice, and redemption, the series opener Snowlands: A Blood Moon is an exciting graphic novel about the adventures of a daring cub.

A rejected wolf cub pursues adventure and self-discovery in the graphic novel Snowlands: A Blood Moon.

Feba, an orphaned cub whose white fur is viewed by some in her pack as a sign of death and the cause of their recent misfortunes, overhears talk that she will be killed to remove the curse. She escapes to the wilderness, where she meets Usha, a snow leopard in search of her missing cub, and Batu, a Pallas’s cat who’s also a pariah among his peers.

The three animals join forces to find the Seeress, a mystic who might be able to locate Usha’s cub. Along the way, they brave dangers and meet allies and enemies. Feba also becomes the target of Umanga, a sheep who looks to revive her dead daughter by fulfilling the Ritual of the Blood Moon, which allows one life to be exchanged for another.

Among this young central cast, each character plays a clear role: Batu is a source of comic relief; Usha is a surrogate parental presence; and Feba is clever, bold, and not above lying to survive. But whenever the book begins to feel too formulaic—whether as part of its magical fantasy quest framework, or as a more grounded tale of survival—twists emerge to keep its tale fresh. A long history is established for the Snowlands, too, resulting in considerable depth.

Elements of danger and the unknown inhabit the entire book. Still, of all of the hazards that Feba faces: the most frightening are mental and emotional dangers, not physical ones, as with the threat of banishment, and the powerless feeling of traveling amid larger, stronger, more capable individuals.

The illustrations are dynamic. They excel at depicting action, and their attention to color and composition are evident in small panels and double-page spreads alike. The sketch section at the back of the book is a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of the characters’ designs. And the book takes a realistic approach to violence, too, with discretion evinced in its use of off-panel actions—though in one pivotal scene, there are striking images of wolves sprawled and dead in the snowy landscape, which is stained by their blood.

Blending heroism, justice, and redemption, the series opener Snowlands: A Blood Moon is an exciting graphic novel about the adventures of a daring cub.

Reviewed by Peter Dabbene

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the publisher will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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