Bhattacharrya’s debut epic fantasy features a boy destined to change the world, talking butterflies, Buddhist monks, ancient secrets, and a strong manga aesthetic in both his prose descriptions and illustrations.
Steve Brown has grown up in an orphanage, slaving away for the abusive Mr. Arnold until a strange series of circumstances sends him across the world to a Buddhist monastery deep in the Himalayas. There, Steve discovers new friends and mentors, like the talking butterfly, Pinkoo; the smiling apprentice monk, Cheeka; and the monastery’s grand master, Shom. He also discovers new enemies, perhaps the most terrifying of whom is Koraka, a scenery-chewing, Satan-worshipping, baby-sacrificing madman. Koraka seeks seven mystical secrets—six of which, via magical paintings, are guarded by the monastery—that, when combined with Steve’s burgeoning abilities, will give him unlimited access to all the power our sun possesses. It’s up to Steve and his new friends to save these seven secrets and, with them, the world. The plot is an archetypal one, and though details of the villains, the unusual locale and the protagonist’s special powers add some freshness, they’re not enough to make this a truly unique story. Most of the characters lack depth, more often than not coming across as simple stock characters rather than real people. The dialogue also ranges from pleasingly cheesy to downright clunky. Steve, for example, is told that these things are happening to him “because only you have the amazing Rainbow power.” The story moves along at a nice pace, however, and the imaginative battle scenes pack a punch. The scattered black-and-white illustrations, also by Bhattacharrya, enhance the story, especially the action sequences.
A fast-paced fantasy epic that will appeal to younger fans of anime and manga.