Normally when I do reviews I like to tackle them issue by issue. Talking about their strengths and weaknesses as the story progresses. This review, on the other hand, will be similar to my review of Nailbiter. Because there is such a huge backlog of material available already, we will review what we know so far to have a solid foundation going forward. Without further ado, let’s get started.
The World of Helm
In general, Helm will feel very familiar to hardy veterans of fantasy literature. On one side you have the “evil”
Empire oppressing its people with a militarized police force. On the other, a plucky gang of misfits on a quest to change the world. We’ve seen such stories time and again, but the question becomes: What’s different? At least for me that was the question going in.
Helm #1 is exceptional for its Target Audience
Our first image is of Eldrick Spellsong Jr, our resident protagonist. College drop out, bit of an artist, very unconcerned with things outside of his sphere of influence. The second is our plucky sidekick character Gwyneth Smedley. She is quite intelligent, very matter of fact about her opinions, and would be as we would call “socially conscious” about issues around the Empire. The last is our resident (infuriatingly) secretive wizard/fugitive of the law Luma Lemere. The first issue has them settle into their respective roles fairly quickly with the next 4 folding out into one long chase sequence for the young mister Eldrick.
Why is anyone after this young man you might ask? While it does take awhile, Luma eventually explains here:
This is important information as the individual spoken of (Hatalles) is a Figure of Import to this planned rebellion against the Empire. She needs Eldrick to find this person, but it is not Eldrick she needs to do it. He is a convenience which is definitely a different spin on the “Greater Destiny” theme around him. Yet despite this, the Empire continues to be a thorn in their side primary because of her status as a “Great Wizard”, but eventually their eyes turn to him when his powers as well as the scope of his importance becomes clear.
Overall, the pacing is good. The art is gorgeous, and the story is very easy to follow along with. The most maddening part about it all is that while the story is easy to follow, the details are glaring in their absence. There is so much of the world that is not yet known even over the course of 5 books which made it a tad frustrating for me to read as I am always about the details. However, for the book’s target market (which is T for Teen), I believe it to be an exceptional work of fiction.