Current Reviews


Berona’s War: Field Guide (Volume One)

Posted: Wednesday, January 19, 2011
By: Michael Roberts

Jesse Labbé and Anthony Coffey
Jesse Labbé and Anthony Coffey
Reading the Berona’s War: Field Guide without reading any of the actual Berona’s War stories is a lot like studying a video game companion book without ever playing the game. You can learn a lot, and you might really want to play it, but you never experience the finished product.

Publishing a field guide before the regular books come out can be risky business; you might completely turn off the audience or entice them to the point that they preorder all of the Berona War materials (the first hardcover graphic novel is due to go on sale on April 12).

Although I was a little disappointed not to see any story material beyond the notes and maps, I am incredibly interested to see how the Berona War will go.

Berona is a mythical world filled with little furry creatures that look like guinea pigs. However, don’t let their cuddly exteriors fool you. The citizens of this world are capable of walking upright and of using swords, bows, and super-modified crossbows that work like sniper rifles. This world has been at war for a long time, and the Field Guide reveals history, maps, and a summary of all of the social groups from both sides of the conflict. This book is absolutely packed with information!

In the same way that steampunk takes technology from today and adapts it to a Victorian era, the < em>Berona’s War: Field Guide takes modern warfare tech to a medieval / fantasy age for furry rodents. Chemical weapons, mech suits, grenades and bazookas are all made from stone, wood, and leaves. Whether any of this technology is even remotely possible is irrelevant. It looks fantastic, and it should make for some interesting story moments in the future.

Archaia is well known for publishing Mouse Guard, another war story with small furry rodents in woodland areas. While there are some easy comparisons to make here, there are more differences than similarities between Berona’s War and Mouse Guard.

For instance, Mouse Guard takes a very serious approach with a life-like art style, but Berona’s War is filled with characters that would fit in any kid’s video game or animated series. Not only is it drawn with a more cartoony, bigfoot style, it is also humorous and oftentimes over-the-top.

If you’re looking for a more playful approach to fantasy war, Berona’s War is definitely for you and you should consider getting this Field Guide.

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