ARC, Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, Comics, Dungeons and Dragons, Graphic Novel, NetGalley, Reading Challenge, Signal Boost, Tabletop Games

NetGalley Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Ravenloft – Orphan of Agony Isle by Casey Gilly and Bayleigh Underwood

Hey all, Sam here.

Hello and happy Sunday! It has been a little while since I’ve talked about a comic on here, but I do enjoy reading them, and I have a few that I’ve read in the past year or so that I’d like to write up reviews for, so I’ll try and start adding them to my blog schedule. I will say that most of the comics/graphic novels I have to talk about right now are D&D related. If it isn’t obvious already, I love TTRPGs, so of course I want to talk about them quite a bit.

That’s why we started Tabletop Tuesdays, and that’s why I might have some tabletop related Weekend Writer posts in the future as well (because creative writing crosses over quite nicely with world and character and story creation for RPGs).

Anyway, I don’t want to waste too much time on this intro, so let’s go ahead and jump into today’s ARC review.

DISCOVER the Demiplane of Dread! In her castle laboratory, D&D’s own mad scientist, Dr. Viktra Mordenheim, performs experiments testing the bounds of science and magic!

THRILL to a Castle of Horrors! Following a terrible accident, Miranda awakens in Schloss Mordenheim under the questionable care of the definitely-not-lawful-good doctor, with no memory of who she is. Desperate to learn about her past, she soon begins to question what she is told and test the strictures placed upon her. Gentle Reader, the truth she uncovers will SHOCK and DISTURB you!

SHUDDER at a Menagerie of Monsters! A collection of lab notes detail the tragic fates of Ravenloft’s unfortunate inhabitants, in a collection of supplementary stories by writers Casey Gilly, Ryan Cady, and Ro Mediavilla, and artists Corin Howell, Vincenzo Riccardi, and Kayla Felty.
We must caution you, Dear Reader, these are not tales for the faint of heart!

My Thoughts

Rating: 3.5 stars

Did I request this book because it was D&D related? Yes, I did. And Ravenloft is an interesting gothic horror themed realm, so I was expecting dark and tragic and creepy and mysterious. I like the atmosphere of the Demiplane of Dread; it’s why I enjoy playing the campaign “Curse of Strahd” so much. When stories in Ravenloft are done well, you can just feel the gently creeping doom and gloom growing nearer and then overwhelming you. It’s great.

This story, “Orphan of Agony Isle,” definitely had the horror and mystery vibe going for it. It was clear pretty much the whole time that Dr. Viktra Mordenheim is withholding information, keeping secrets. It’s clear to us as the readers and it quickly becomes clear to Miranda as well.

What starts as unclear is how the side-stories within this tale fit into the full picture. It took until what is basically the third issue/chapter of this book for me to figure it out…which honestly felt a bit sad, because it was such a predictable path for the story to take. It was like they were trying to do a Ravenloft centered Frankenstein story. And I think it could have been great, but with only 4 issues in the full story, it feels like there wasn’t quite enough time to really build the tension and horror and creepy atmosphere the story deserved.

I can say that I was intrigued by the end, and would actually have really liked to continue the adventure, following Miranda after she managed to leave Dr. Mordenheim’s castle.

Overall, this graphic novel was underwhelming to me. Not enough to DNF it, but it still wasn’t the most compelling read I’ve picked up recently.

This graphic novel collection will be released March 7th, but each of the individual issues (all 4 of them) are already out.

That is all from me for today. Thank you so much for stopping by, and I’ll be back soon with more geeky content.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s