Saturday, October 13, 2018

The Scarlet Rose GN No. 2 - I'll Go Where You Go

Eighteen year old Maud de Laroche has learned the identity of her hero, the Fox - Guilhem de Landry! The man she thought was her friend. The man who had been teaching her how to use a sword and how to defend herself. The man her father had hired to watch over her. The man she trusted. And so, this second graphic novel in The Scarlet Rose series picks up exactly where the end of the first book ended - with Maud in a complete state of shock!

With "I'll Go Where You Go," writer and artist Patricia Lyfoung expands the world of Maud de Laroche, as her protagonist learns more about Guilhem and the Fox, as well as uncovering secrets about her father's killer and the secrets behind his murder. The art, while very detailed in places, particularly with the spectacular view of several of the cities Maud and Guilhem visit, appears to be rushed in a number of places. The characters' faces and expressions are not quite as defined in some of the panels, especially when compared to the art of the first graphic novel. Not sure why the difference, when Lyfoung did the art for both, but it was a bit jarring.

Otherwise, the story was just as fun and as engaging as the previous book. Maud has to get over the shock of discovery Guilhem is the Fox, and at the same time, Guilhem struggles to convince Maud that his identity as the Fox is nothing more than a way for him to escape the boredom of his life - he is not interested in justice, nor does he specifically give the spoils of his adventures to the poor; rather, he simply gives them to the first person he comes across. With her entire image of the Fox spoiled, Maud lashes out...but not for long! The Baron de Huet sneaks into the house and discovers Maud - the girl he has become infatuated with. She awakes with a scream, bringing Guilhem into the room, and the chance meeting starts off a chain of events that leads Maud and Guilhem (as well as Scarlet Rose and Fox) to Venice, to a party in honor of the Scarlet Rose and the Fox, to join a ship of pirates, and ultimately to Istanbul, where they will begin their search for the fabled."place of God."

Through the diary of Maud's father, and through information provided by Guilhem's friend, the "archivist," readers are provided with some of the intrigue that will set the stage for Maud and Guilhem's further adventures. It is a quest, of sorts, for a fabled place that can grant the power to change the world - but in order to do so, three things are required - a ring, a key, and a drop of blood. The ring and the key are said to have been safeguarded by the famed Templars, whose descendants still keep the items safe. As for the blood, well that requires a drop of blood from an actual descendant of one of the Templars...

So why are the de Huet's chasing after this fabled place? Who is their mysterious benefactor? Will Maud and Guilhem be able to track down the artifacts and get them before the de Huets? How will Maud react when she finds out that the Baron de Huet has a twin brother with a scar across his face that was the true murderer of her father? And when will Maud and Guilhem just admit their feelings for one another and move one?!

So many questions, and a few actually get answered this book - but, hey, you've got to save some for future stories, right?  Lyfoung knows how to keep the story moving, how to break from one scene to the next without it being jarring, and how to insinuate subplots into the tale without being overly obvious about it.  I look forward to where future books will take these characters!

RATING:  8 red chests with locks shaped like a dragon out of 10 for keeping the story interesting, mixing in just the right amount of drama along with a pinch of humor, and making me want to know what happens next!

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