Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Trade Central Station: The Books of Faerie: Auberon's Tale


With stories written by Bronwyn Carlton and John Ney Rieber.
This trade collects The Books of Faerie: Auberon's Tale #1-3, The Books of Magic #57, 58 and The Books of Magic Annual #1

The land of Faerie is governed by a royal family. With the untimely and ill-gotten death of King Magnus, here unfolds the tale of Auberon, soon to be king.

Magnus hadn't any outright heirs. It was difficult to conceive children for him and faeries in general due to a predisposed condition. Thus, the king would bring in other species, such as human for example, to breed with the fairies in order to help the population bloom. With the faerie bloodlines so tainted, there were a few different routes in which to track the next likely successor to the throne. A boy named Auberon who had been living with his aunt in the countryside was one important candidate. They, specifically Lord Amadan, wishes to use the boy as a pawn and guide him to rule Faerie as he would see fit. To mold and manipulate him, is his aim. Lord Obrey seems of better nature with a good standing loyalty to Auberon. Lots of treachery and treason are afoot as the politics and wars play out. The Duke of Grimwar is the biggest challenge to Auberon's rise to the throne, but when he comes face to face with Auberon, he decides to surrender. Amadan is such a big sneak. There's a bit of murder that goes on. The Duke of Grimwar dies while captive in the castle's prison tower. For the moment, Auberon's tale ends as he sneaks away. The Duke of Grimwar's wife was with child and had given birth. That child could also lay a stake in the kingdom and challenge Auberon's rule. He wishes to see the child and make sure she will be all right, no doubt leaving Amadan to manipulate and work his little schemes.

Two stories after that, follow up with some of the same characters. The first story is quite a cute tale revolving around Sturm. Sturm is the troll who had slain King Magnus in the first story of Auberon's Tale. He goes on a search to find his missing brothers, who went looking for silver treasure. Sturm finds the best treasure of all because upon discovering the death of his brothers, he finds the silver treasure but returns it to its rightful owner, who in turn, gives new life back to Sturm's brothers. They all get to go home.

The next story is called "Auberon Finds a Friend". That's pretty much all there is to know.

The final tale features Tim Hunter. He encounters a ghost girl and helps her to "move on." I'm not entirely caught up with all of my Books of Magic. It's been difficult trying to find volumes of them when I go to conventions. I read books 1 and 2. I have book 5, but won't read it until I get the other in between books. What is so curious is that, in this last story,Tim has a butterfly tattoo on his shoulder. I must get my hands on more trades so I can figure out why oh why he has this tattoo. It is so odd.

As always, I love Peter Gross' artwork in here. Mark Buckingham and Dick Giordano do the art for the Annual issue and I really enjoyed that as well. Not to mention, the beautiful covers by Hermann Meija. They look to be watercolors and feature such a lovely range of values and textures. The covers are what caught my eye and led me to purchase this trade. I, actually, had purchased the first issue to that story arc before picking up the trade paperback.

The characters in this universe are diverse and fascinating. They deal with problems, moral dilemmas, brutal politics, similar enough to our own world, where we recognize and empathize with their follies and yet the fantasy element always surprises me because it can be so different. And, it's just really a wonderful read.

Hopefully, one day soon I'll get to read Book 5 of the Books of Magic. Perhaps I'll find another trade when I go to New York Comic Con this year. Are you going? If you wanna win a free 3 day pass, we've still got our contest running. Be sure to enter it if you haven't already. Contest closes on Labor Day (Sept. 5). Enter Here.

You better "be there and be square!"*


-O.Pelaez

*Simpsons quote.

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