By: Rachel Freeman
I unfortunately did not get to review the first three issues of this series, but hey, at least I got to do it eventually, right? In my opinion, this mini series is worth the read and I hope it comes back for more.
To give some background for those who haven’t read it, Ladycastle is the story of a kingdom, formally called Mancastle. It was ruled by a tyrant King. Women were stuck with stereotypical roles and jobs, they were to be seen and not heard. Men were treated as superior and better in every way…Until one day, while out on a crusade, the King and all of his men (except one) were eaten by a dragon, leaving the women alone to rule. Which would be pretty easy, except the entire kingdom is under a curse and they must defend themselves. A strong, brave blacksmith named Merinor is given the sacred sword by the Lady of the Lake. From then on, she is hailed as the new King. Not Queen, the King. Meanwhile, the princess Aeve, who was locked away in a tower, becomes Merinor’s champion knight and her young sister, Gwyneff (who’s a total tomboy and it’s wonderful) is her squire.
Each issue of the series, the women of Ladycastle must face a new foe. But rather than fight and kill each foe, they try to find a better way. They have faced flaming salamanders, werewolves, harpies, and finally in this issue, they face their toughest foe yet: The Black Knight, who has taken Gwyneff captive. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Black Knight, but he appears in a lot of Medieval literature and is often a figure signifying darkness and/or death. So, basically, the Black Knight knocking on their castle door is kind of a big deal. The Black Knight challenges them to 3 trials: jousting, archery, and a battle of wits. If the chosen Champion of Ladycastle can win at least 2 out of 3, Gwyneff will be returned and the kingdom will be left alone. Naturally, Aeve steps up and demands to face the knight to save her sister.
Pros: I’m a sucker for sisterly love. I have a sister and I love her dearly. I would fight anyone who tried to hurt her without regard for myself. Without hesitation. I can say that with full confidence. So seeing Aeve charge out of the castle to fight the Black Knight, no regard for her safety, no concern about her curse, all she cares about is her sister. That was a powerful and inspiring scene. These are the things from Ladycastle that I value and I think young women should be reading. I’ve been a fan of all the little rhymes and songs in each issue, but the one in this issue is my favorite. It’s cute, then sad, then heroic. I can hear the music changes like they would be in a movie.
Cons: This series ended before it truly got to begin. So much happened in this issue. The 3 trials, the explanation about the previous King, complete resolution that seemed to just suddenly happen. It was a lot to happen in 24 pages. It all felt so crammed together and rushed. The flow of events was clearly forced and it really took away from the potential of the story. I honestly think that given more issues, Delilah S. Dawson and Becca Farrow could have made something fantastic. This story was good, but it could have been so much more.
I would also like to point out that Ladycastle is a 12+ book. For those who are unfamiliar with the comic rating system, this means its appropriate for readers age 12 and older because it may contain mild violence, language or suggestive themes. I want to point this out because while I definitely recommend it, it’s more suited for a younger audience. I think adult women will like and appreciate the story, but I think young women will get something more. I think that’s the audience where this book will shine.
So, for the series – Overall Score: 8 / 10
Make sure to pick up Ladycastle #4 (and the first 3 issues if you missed them) at your local comic store!