REACH: Hands of Red

Joe Pezzula (author), Scott Irwin (illustrator), Ben Glibert (illustrator)

A band of disgruntled knights are hired to steal from the King. The heist runs the gamut of death, destruction, and desire, with a return on treasures of unknown power. But betrayal brings distrust, and loyalty is stretched to the limit in this exciting tale of skill, greed, and thievery.

This book is the first part of a trilogy following a family throughout several ages. I can’t tell which characters are connected to the next part, or if any actually are. When I read the next part, we’ll see.

Overall the book is full of action. It has lots of fighting, there’s some surprising blood and guts (though very cartoonish, so if you’re normally squeamish about blood, this really isn’t that bad), and a lot of bravado. Beyond that, I found the story to be confusing. The characters are briefly introduced, but not given a lot of actual characterization. Everyone in the title spends a lot of time talking, but there’s not much in the writing style to distinguish them as separate characters. With a little more variation in speech, and more to go off of than one is just really into drinking ale, I think the book would be more solid.

As far as fantasy settings go, this one is set in a “familiar” setting: England during the rule of Richard the Lionhearted. Richard here is presented as a tyrant who the protagonists are rising up against, though it’s never given to us why they’re doing so, or if they’re just bitter about something, or what. All we know is that these knights have turned against Richard.

The art is decent. It’s a very distinct style, with expressive faces. As I mentioned, it’s a little cartoonish, but I didn’t find that to be inappropriate with the story at all the way it might have been in another title.

The ending really shocked me. I didn’t see it coming at all, so as far as style goes, I’ll give the book some points there.

If you like action and adventure and don’t place as much stock in characterization and real plot development, you’ll enjoy this a lot.

For me, I give it a 3 out of 5.

You can purchase this book at Quad Shot’s store here or pre-order a copy at Amazon.

Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.

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