Trekscribbler's Reviews > The Silent Grove

The Silent Grove by David Gaider
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's review
Aug 06, 2012

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Kings, queens, servants, and dragons have made for great stories for centuries, and with a property like BioWare’s DRAGON AGE to play with, Dark Horse is presented with a previously-built land of myth in which it can populate with even more fairy tales. Truth be told, the uninitiated may feel a bit lost – some of the characters and relationships could’ve used a bit more backstory that would’ve served the greater narrative – but there’s still a nice little gem in THE SILENT GROVE the casual reader can admire.

(WARNING: The following review will contain minor spoilers solely for the purposes of discussing the plot. If you like to enter your kingdoms without so much as a hint to what’s going on, then jump to the last two paragraphs for my assessment. If you’re okay with some minor spoilage, then read on.)

Alistair Theirin has settled into his reign as king of Ferelden nicely. He’s gone about rebuilding his lands, ones torn apart by a nasty Civil War. However, personal quests remain, such as a further exploration into what happened to the bloodline before him. With a sexy pirate lass and her crossbow-toting dwarf as his companions, King Alistair ventures into some of the darker corners of his realm in hopes of uncovering the true fate of his father, King Maric. It’ll involve a witch, a dragon, and a magical temple that just might hold a few secrets he never anticipated.

Unfortunately, I’m no gamer, so I can’t tell you how well GROVE integrates into the franchise. Still, I can appreciate a good yarn like any reader of graphic novels, and, on that front, GROVE mostly succeeds. It almost feels a bit ‘abbreviated’ or ‘condensed’ for my tastes; while it’s clear Alistair hired these two hands for the purposes of this journey, I can’t help but believe there’s a greater history to their involvement with one another. Also, there are hints in the conclusion that they’ll be in his service for days to come, so perhaps this seeks to establish their ongoing partnership in his journeys. Still, it’s a comfortable world – one similar to most fantasy-based worlds – and I appreciated it entirely on that level. It’s not as grand or involved as, say, Tolkien’s or Jordan’s or Martin’s, but it works for the purposes of the events here. With a story by David Gaider, a script by Alexander Freed, (some very impressive) art by Chad Hardin, colors by Michael Atiyeh, and lettering by Michael Heisler, THE SILENT GROVE is a serviceable tale about a young king on a quest of his own design that’s nothing so grand as the salvation of his kingdom so much as it is finding peace in his soul.

RECOMMENDED. As somewhat of a novice to the tales of DRAGON AGE, I’m comfortable admitting that the tales nuances may’ve been lost of me, but, at its core, THE SILENT GROVE is nothing more than the tale of a king, a gypsy/pirate, a dwarf, a witch, a villain, a dragon, and the curse of leadership, that being the never-ending pursuit of justice in the name of the crown. That I get, and it works on that level. I suspect others more familiar with the property might find something more to get jazzed about here, but, for the uninitiated, there’s still plenty of solid artwork and a grand fairy tale to serve as a creative distraction.

In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the good people at Dark Horse Comics provided me with a digital copy of DRAGON AGE: THE SILENT GROVE by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.

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