Written by Jan Strnad
Illustrated by Richard Corben
Ragemoor! A living castle, nurtured on pagan blood, harborer to deadly monsters! A fortress possessed of its own will and ability to change itself, with the power to add and destroy rooms and to grow without the help of any human hand. Its owner is mad with jealously, its servants aren’t human, and its secret’s horrific!
When you’re at a house called RAGEMOOR you’d think it’d be your typical teenage party flick. That sounds like a teenage movie, right? Lord knows it’s a better name than “Project X.”
Anyway, check past the cut for more!
Sometimes there are books that defy description, try as you might, the books just come off as something you can’t really compare it to. This book is one of those properties. The easiest way to describe it is as “the Island from LOST if it was the setting of American Horror Story and aired on Masterpiece Theatre.” However, that’s a crude, and barely adequate description, as complicated as it already is.
While it’s certainly crude, that premise is a promising one, and it definitely brings you in. Jan Strnad, the creator the series, who has experience mostly in the Star Wars expanded universe created a setting that doesn’t fail to entertain. The backstory is quickly and effectively told, making it a lot easier to get drawn into the main story at hand. Some horror books get stuck in the backstory and the main story never really takes off because of this. “Ragemoor” doesn’t fall into this category, however, and benefits thoroughly because of it.
One of the most entertaining parts of the book is the sheer British-ness of it all! As I said before, the book feels like it could be a scene from a Masterpiece Theatre series like Downton Abbey for instance. While the book doesn’t hold back with the scares and at one point, has a really terrifying scene involving the maid and the property, never loses it sense of fun between the covers. Any book that uses the term “Poppycock” not once but twice succeeds in this regard. Everyone is terrible, but in the best way. They’re likable in spite of themselves.
The real highlight of this book, however, lies in the art. Rochard Corben, the illustrious artist who handles not only the pencils but the inks does so in a way that I could not describe with mere words, you have to see it to experience a master at work. The pencils are sublime, effortless in their application, and the inks somehow add to the perfection in the art, providing a depth that only Corben could ever hope to give. It’s actually intimidating to speak of how amazing his work is, because there’s no POSSIBLE way my words will ever do his talent and skill developed over the past decades the justice it deserves. Even the lack of color was a step you that brings this head and shoulders above the rest of the competition. It would have only detracted from the beauty on the pages. It’s just amazing. Corben is an example of an artist not “losing it” over time, which is terribly common these days.
Bottom line, if you like horror books set in Britain, there’s no reason you shouldn’t pick this up. The combination of story and art makes for one of my favorite books this month, and I didn’t expect to say that at all.
Final Verdict: 8.5 – Buy