SERIES: A House Divided (#1)
PUBLISHED: April 7, 2020 by Graphic Universe
GENRE: Graphic Novel, Young Adult
The life of Henrietta Achilles is about to change. After years of living as an orphan, she receives a summons to the strange town of Malrenard. To her surprise, she’s the only living relative of Ornun Zol–a notorious wizard, now deceased, who leaves Henrietta with his house and everything in it.
With Ornun Zol gone, escaped creatures and misfired curses have been spilling out into Malrenard. If that’s not enough, Henrietta will discover countless squabbling squatters inside her uncle’s abode: soldiers, bandits, tiny monsters, and more. Then there’s the matter of the strange black cat following Henrietta around . . .
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The worse the storm, the more beautiful the rainbow that follows.
The Accursed Inheritance of Henrietta Achilles is a wonderfully realized fantasy adventure imbued with magic, mystery, and a healthy dose of humor. This entertaining tale, penned by author Haiko Hörnig and illustrated by Marius Pawlitza, is one of courage and conquering your fears, all wrapped up in a cozy cloak of secrecy. Henrietta’s cryptic quest brings her to the town of Malrenard, where the townspeople are being plagued by strange and curious ongoings. After learning of her unexpected inheritance, which turns out to be the colossal tower of the wizard Ornun Zol (and everything it contains), she’s heaved into a world of mayhem dominated by warring factions and monsters. This graphic novel may be small, but it is one wild romp.
Hörnig crafts a motley cast of characters, each with their own distinct voice, adding a richness to this story I wasn’t expecting. The evolution of Henrietta is a beautiful journey to witness, as we’re introduced to a shattered, melancholic child who transforms to into a resolute and spirited young adult. She finds herself caught between Nate Flemming, the charismatic Knight of Knaves, thief and self-proclaimed freedom fighter, and the imposing Captain Booner, soldier extraordinaire with a hankering for some good quiche. The dynamics between these over-the-top characters are just pure perfection, and I ended up adoring each and every one of them.
The worldbuilding submerges readers with its history of devastating war, sprawling towns infested with foe and misfortune, and haphazard strongholds lorded by sentient structures. As soldiers acting on behalf of an enigmatic king battle a group of roguish miscreants, readers are invited to absorb the great little tidbits that pepper the pages. There’s a magic that flows through the winding corridors of the tower of Ornin Zol that invites all manner of monsters to claim their stake in the great vault hunt. This world is brimming with things to discover, and not only did I had a blast doing so alongside Henrietta, but I can’t wait to learn more.
Dymanic and vivid illustrations from Marius Pawlitza bring this tale to life, easily capturing the chaos that befalls Henrietta and the town of Malrenard. He presents clean and consistent imagery, along with animated facial expressions that thoroughly convey the intended emotions to readers. The addition of small, subtle elements–usually humorous in nature (looking at you, you drunken, sheep-kicking tavern patron)–add a depth to both the world and the tale being told. To state it simply, this is illustrative storytelling at its finest.
The Accursed Inheritance of Henrietta Achilles is a story that begins veiled in a shroud of darkness, as Henrietta loses her mother to the Great War, but the uplifting nature of the this tale reminds readers there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. Exciting and action-packed, I was completely engaged in Henrietta’s adventure, and the cliffhanger ending has left me in desperate need for more. If you’re looking for a light and lively caper, then I highly recommend you give this one a try. I adore this book, and I’m very much looking forward to its continuation in the rest of A House Divided.
Note: I received a complementary copy of this book from the publisher through a giveaway.
Born 1984, Haiko Hörnig spent his childhood in his parents’ comic book store, where he developed a love for sequential art at an early age. After a stint as a copywriter for various international advertisement agencies, he now writes screenplays and comic books from his home in Frankfurt, Germany.
Marius Pawlitza was born in Poland in 1984 and grew up in Ludwigshafen. Years later he studied communication design in Mainz. A good excuse to spend as much time as possible on video games and make comics with Haiko Hörnig. Since 2011 he has been working as an art director for different agencies and companies from Frankfurt.