In this fulfilling, thrilling 13-part epic, the writers of Dark Souls Year 1 Omnibus: Legends of the Flame give fans of the game something familiar in the form of short stories, while also giving those new to the Dark Souls series an enticing and tempting first look.
Legends of the Flame does not disappoint with its 13 separate stories, all connected to the curse that settled over the land of Lordran. A curse that makes one able to die over and over again, taking pieces of what makes them human, until in its place is a zombified shell of a person with no personality, no memories. With the alternative to keep your memories, as well as what makes you human, by feeding on souls, heroes and villains alike will fall and rise. And the dying flame that keeps the days of Lordran from disappearing forever will rise and fall with them.
Within these short stories we explore Lordran in the aftermath of death taking up residence within its world. The dead won’t stay dead, and those left standing are looking out for number one. Some are looking to cure themselves, others are desperate to save someone they love, and there are those who simply want the cure for power and to have hold over the land. Each story pulls readers into a different world, with its own tragedy to tell. Crossroads, Witches, and The Labyrinth, filled with deceit and desperation, shows just how far one will go to save themselves-and bring balance back to the world.
Behold, Townsfolk! is a cleverly written tale with a surprisingly humorous ending, while The Shattered Mirror is quick to remind readers of the endless loop of despair and misery one must endure during these times. One cannot afford the luxury of chances, because one mistake will cost you everything. Pound of Flesh echoes the description of a dark and grim world, as two sisters are forced to live in such a way that the hate already existing between them grows to the point of explosion in the form of drastic, extreme reactions, sealing two separate fates into one.
ARTWORK & LAYOUT
Though the artwork throughout these tales come from five different artists, each one not only fits the story it’s portraying, but also enhances it. The dark and dismal colors reflect the misery and desolation that takes center stage, while there are still places that the more vibrant colors fit. There are faded, blurred edges, much like the memories that one loses with each rising sun. Details in the graphics, from the faces hidden behind cloaks to the monsters that will never go away, it’s impossible to let whatever you imagined before seeing these illustrations stay at the forefront of your imagination. It’s a waste of time to hold onto your own visions, because what Kowalski, Worm, Wijngaard, Percival, and Serra managed to conjure up and give us is so much better.
Being only somewhat familiar with the games, these short stories were relatively fresh for me. How those more familiar with the game, or even protective and devoted to it, will view these standalones is hard to say. However, in the genre of Dark Fantasy, Dark Souls: Legend of the Flame has something for everyone. In terms of plots, Pound of Flesh was incredibly intriguing, making it my top favorite. One of the more unique representations of a dying world, this one is not like the others. For artwork, hands down, Danielle Serra’s work is so aesthetically pleasing in Savior and That Which Makes Us Human. I was immediately reminded of those sleep-with-the-light-on-shook-feeling you got after attempting to read that one book, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
I can’t be the only that thinks this.