Curse of the Chosen Volume 1 & Curse of the Chosen Volume 11

Curse of the Chosen Volume 1
Curse of the Chosen Volume 11

Alexis Deacon
Flying Eye Books

These are two bumper volumes, the first comprising (Geis) A Matter of Life and Death and A Game Without Rules, the second being the eagerly awaited The Will that Shapes the World, which concludes the trilogy.

Alexis Deacon’s first two graphic novels have held readers in their thrall since their publication. The first begins in fairly traditional fairytale style becoming progressively darker: a young woman, Io, finds herself in a room with 50 nobles; all are waiting for the death of the matriarch and thence the declaration of a new chief. They discover that the former matriarch has died but her body has been possessed by a sorceress who sends them from the Castle telling them to be back before dawn. “One alone I will spare,” she tells them. From this point on the reader watches the ordeals of some of these nobles as they try desperately to fight the “death magic” that has brought them thither.

Equally enthralling and even darker than the first book, A Game Without Rules begins by saying that the first test is now completed and only Io and a young man, Nemas know the truth of the sorceress’s plan. What follows is essentially a game of manipulations and wit within the city walls and the castle itself. Readers learn more about these characters who during the race for the crown, that at times becomes a race in a matter of life and death, we see the contestants change and develop. With the stakes raised the tension grows and it’s impossible to predict what will happen and who will succeed in the second test.

Powerful storytelling and awesomely detailed artwork once again sweep the reader away in the series finale The Will that Shapes the World. “The sorceress plans to kill us all! She has already murdered and enslaved the others!” comes a girl’s voice from behind bars, one of those remaining who are now scattered throughout the castle.

Shortly after comes an announcement from the sorceress, “Only one of you will survive … kill the others and one of you will live. I promise you that.”
Nightmarish scenes follow and awful realisations too as we head towards an unanticipated, impactful and clever conclusion.

I was astonished to realise that the creator is the same Alexis Deacon whose picture books are some of my most frequent classroom shares. What his awesome graphic novels do, among other things, is expose a different audience of older readers to challenging vocabulary, presenting it in a visually supportive context.

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