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posted July 31, 2013
Dark Horse, softcover, 136 pages, July 2013, $19.99.
This book stuck with me for a while after I put it down. Peter Bergting's folklore-tinged fantasy adventure is stuffed to the gills with off-key storytelling choices, from the way that action is told, to where the "camera" is placed, to the protagonist's outright inability to grow in the way we've come to understand the journey that such main characters take in works like these. I thought it worth ten of the really ordinary fantasies that come out in comics on a more regular basis, and five of the well-crafted but stale Young Adult books that the big publishers release with increasing frequency.
Beyond the marriage of a slick style and that delicious refusal to kowtow to any rational narrative, a lot of what's here finds a place to rattle around in the ambiguities of folklore's shifting loyalties. People assault one another, dine together, sit in the same room, betray half their number to a horrible fate involving the already-dead. Bergting's heroine never manages to stop being under-prepared for all that swirls around her, a nice nod to the notion of a life spent in a kind of self-indulgent state of pleasure. There are no hidden reserves; there is not sudden, crowd-pleasing step into confident action. I wonder if Domovoi
will endear itself to any of the readers that look at the fantasy genre for solace and self-affirmation, or if anyone else that might enjoy it for it sly sense of humor will ever seen the darn thing. I hope so.