Norroway Volume 1: The Black Bull of Norroway
The Norroway series
Cat Seaton, illustrations by Kit Seaton
Fiction, YA? Fantasy/Graphic Novel
DESCRIPTION: As a girl, Sybilla and her friends - as many before them - took a gift and an egg to the witch in the woods to ask whom they would marry. Only, instead of a merchant or a lord, the witch told her she would marry the Black Bull of Norroway. Legend tells how the bull was once a man, a knight so fierce his own king grew terrified of his prowess and struck a pact with the Old One to curse him. Surely the woman wasn't serious... or was she?
Years later, the black bull Brom comes to her village - and Sybilla, who never cared to be an ordinary housewife, follows him into the woods and through the mountains, on a quest to break a curse that has ruined many lives, and may ruin hers before she's done.
REVIEW: On the one hand, this story has a certain old-school fairy tale charm, weaving elements of folk stories together into a new adventure with a reasonably bold heroine. On the other hand, it can't help feeling a bit disjointed and illogical, especially as everyone goes out of their way to avoid talking about the curse on Brom and how it is meant to be broken; even Sybilla finally gets frustrated with the dancing. There are also a few places where, had I been reading a physical book, I would've wondered if the pages got stuck together, odd little jumps in a story that already had a certain dreamlike fluidity to it owing to the fairy tale magic at work. The characters work for the setting, slightly flattened and exaggerated, but Sybilla's worth rooting for and Brom clearly is conflicted. It's not bad for what it is, though I don't know if I'll seek out the second volume, even though this one ends on a cliffhanger. Just not quite my cup of cocoa, ultimately.
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