Friday, March 16, 2007


Volume 1, collecting issues 1-5
FORMAT: Paperback
GENRE: Fantasy

  • Friendship
  • Love
  • Mystery
  • Growing Up

  • Acheron
  • Lei’ella
  • Shiara
  • Kayn’Dar

Acheron, a young Da’kor, makes an unlikely friendship with an elf, Shiara. He discovers that her soul mate, Kayn’Dar, was kidnapped when they were young. This caused great strife because the Elves blamed the Da’Kor for the kidnapping. Acheron, smitten with Shiara, sets off to find out what happened and who really kidnapped Kayn’Dar twelve years ago.

My Rating: All Ages
Publisher’s Rating: All Ages
Comics in the Classroom: 10 and older

There is mild violence in the book, but not what one would typically expect for a fantasy novel of this type. There is kidnapping involved, and Acheron is an archer who hunts to put food on the family table. There issues that some may find objectionable, which discussed below. If a person objects, then they will not want their child reading this book at all. If one does not find those issues as being objectionable, then the book is appropriate for all ages.

This is a slow-paced, character-driven story with more dialogue than action. Over half the book is set-up for Acheron to leave his family and set off on his adventure. That could prove to be unnerving for children who are used to more immediate gratification. I think the mystery should be interesting enough to keep readers moving along and asking questions.

The young pup, Acheron, is an atypical Da’Kor male in that he is very peaceful and non-violent. He doesn’t really fit in to typical Da’Kor society but he seems well liked. He opines that he just knows there are others out there like him. While the mystery surrounding Kayn’Dar is the catalyst for his adventure, the story is also strongly linked to Acheron’s finding himself and growing up.

The art in this story is where the book really shines. The storytelling comes alive with the art, Rather than being a backdrop to the story, the art seems the focus, which leads us to the sparcity of text, as compared to other comics.

The characters have a typical manga styling to them, especially in their eyes. The inking lines are thin and the details are subdued, but the colors and the way the characters are drawn should be an instant draw to readers, especially children. The typesetting in the word bubbles is a bit larger than in a typical graphic novel, making it easier to read for younger kids. The paper is a high quality, glossy paper.

Ellerton uses a wide range of colors.
This is a scene in the forest.

This is the most violence that
is in the story so far. Acheron hunts
to put food on the family table.

A brighter color palette is used here.

This would be a great book to teach about character development and to compare and contrast pacing issues with other books. It would also be advantageous to talk about crimes against children, as well as the social barriers and conflicts between different ethnic groups. This struggle is illustrated when Acheron is talking to his mother:
MOM: “Humans and Elves hate us, fear us, despise us. All that does is breed the same feelings from the Da’Kor toward everyone else in return. I don’t think something like that can ever change. It’s the way things have become.”

ACHERON: “I don’t want to be a Da’Kor!”
Touching on Romeo and Juliet, Acheron’s real issue with his race is that he is in love with an Elf and he can’t be with her because he is a Da’Kor. This is the perfect opportunity to talk about race without directly engaging the typical black-white scenario, although that could certainly be a part of the discussion. Sometimes it is very helpful to talk about a serious issue in another context.

Inverloch started as a web comic and due to its popularity, was also published in book form. The first scene in the published version has been reworked. The story is the same as the web comic, but it is put together differently. I think the published version is the better one. Volumes 1-5 are available on the web.

Recommended with strong reservations

I like this book and think it is a worthy piece for children to read. I would have no problems with my daughter sitting down with this book. However, it does contain material which some may find objectionable: magic, kidnapping, hunting and drinking of mulled wine.

So far in the story, the only person reciting an incantation is the unnamed and unknown character who kidnapped Kayn’Dar in the first place, but he is not the only one who has magical abilities. All the elves are able to use magic.

Acheron is an archer who hunts to feed his family. Hunting is a socially accepted practice in many parts of the country, but certainly not all. Many people have strong objections about weapons, violence and hunting.

Characters in this book, as is common in many fantasy stories, drink mulled wine, including our young pup, Acheron. This, too, could be a source of trouble for a teacher depending on what part of the country a school is located. It may be hard for a teacher to explain the inconsistencies of drinking by the young protagonist, as compared to the strong anti-alcohol emphasis in the modern school.

There are at least two places where there are grammatical or spelling errors in the text. This should not have been a problem for a good editor and considering that the text itself is not overly used, it is a bit frustrating.

While I rate the book as an All Ages book and I would allow my own child to read it, because of these issues I am very hesitant to recommend it for the classroom without taking the culture of the population into account. I have decided to recommend it, but with strong reservations. Overall, I think the positives of the book outweigh the concerns, but I am not convinced that I would keep the book on the shelf in my classroom, considering the local culture. If the school library carried Inverloch then I would definitely have no qualms at all.

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