Can I please tell you how geeked out I was when I saw that I could review a Red Sonja book?! I have loved this heroine ever since I saw Brigitte Nielsen play Red Sonja in 1985 of course alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger. But our heroine got her start much earlier than in the movie. Back in the day we saw Sonja first appearing in Kull and the Barbarians #3.
Well fast forward a bit and we find ourselves reading about Red Sonja as a reincarnate…in fact a distant relative that has taken Red Sonja’s name as a “good omen”. Reincarnate indeed. This Sonja is the same She-Devil with a sword as the late Red Sonja.
Where else can you find an extremely buff red head that can drink just about any man under the table then pick that table up, smash said table on the poor loser’s back just to wake him up and beat him down again? This She-Devil is a dream come true, if you ask me.
Now we find Sonja on the high seas, after a small battle heading towards a storm. I will say, I haven’t read the books since I was a lot younger, so I find it odd to see Sonja at sea, on a boat. I am not saying there isn’t any action at sea but this fiery woman seemed to be at home on dry land…of course the waves and excitement of the open water does make for a better story and setting.
And who doesn’t like the occasional Sea Monster to stir up a little drama and get the blood pumping faster through the veins? I wasn’t expecting the Sea Monster, although I know that this is something that is common with stories at sea…but I was honestly taken by surprise at the fact that there would be a non-human threat.
Now I feel silly for saying that.
There is another part of this series that makes me a little uneasy. I do remember Sonja being a bit of a loner; a group just slowed her down, especially a group of men. We see Sonja traveling with not just one or two but an entire ship full of men — warriors, yes, but nonetheless men. I know that stories and characters evolve over time — heck, think about this story being made in the 60’s or 70’s, she would wear more clothes, she would be drawn less masculine and wouldn’t be as brutal. I get all of that, trust me but I am having a hard time believing that Sonja would put trust in other humans with her life.
So, after a shipwreck we find our gang of pirates and Sonja on land, an island in the middle of nowhere. Jungle infested with all kinds of ancient ruins. We see Sonja get the opportunity to do all kinds of battle with the indigenous peoples of the island and more monsters. Only this time, the monsters are dragons. DUDE! Seriously, how much butt can one human kick in one episode?! Sonja does not disappoint, every blow, every sword cling, every thud comes to life through the fantastic artwork.
So now that I have mentioned it, let me dive into the artwork for just a moment or two. I love the attention to detail that the newer books are giving us these days. But I also love the same rough but clear graphic designs characters and landscapes had back in the day as well. This series does nothing to disappoint me. Just like when I was 13, I see the rough edges, how the snarl from the dragon can be felt against a warriors skin. The tides rolling up on the island beaches, Red Sonja’s hair waiving around as she fights yet another army or monster who might, just might take her life this time. The artwork is pure and true to the story line. The landscapes and characters have flaws and we can understand exactly where they stand. The marriage of a believable story line with great artwork creates the birth of a must read series.
In this book we get to see fighting, which is to be expected of pirates and medieval warriors. Alas, the fights are epic and the battles are worthy of the WWE circuit. I mean seriously, could you see any UFC fighter being able to take what these characters take on a daily basis? Heck no! This is why I absolutely love books like this. We get to escape, and not just escape the realm of possibility but escape all realms. For a brief moment we are suspended in another dimension. We get to travel on great adventures, win epic battles that would make the gods cry out in joyous thunder! As a fan I will say that the movie series Conan did not do the books justice and with technology getting better we just might see in the near future that the battles, fights, absolute no holds barred wars will come to life on the silver screen. But until that day comes we still have the books to escape in.
This book did not disappoint me! It is exactly what I wanted it to be; I was able to escape the rat race, to slow down and travel alongside Red Sonja and the pirates as they battled. The writing and character development was everything I could wish for. Red Sonja is absolutely one of my favorite kick butt female warriors. I am also a sucker for red heads. Head down to your favorite book store, drop a couple of Washington’s, read the book and then tell my you’re not still impressed with a female warrior that can take on any army, battle any monster/demon and still be able to drink any man under the table. I am not kidding here folks, do it. Don’t hesitate any longer.