In Search of Lost Dragons (Review)

by Elian Black’Mor and Carine-M


Dragon Zoo Books is all about finding the stories and the adventures that dragon fans will love the most, and with Elian Black’Mor and Carine-M’s “In Search of Lost Dragons” we think we’ve found your favourite dragon book of 2015, and it’s only February!

Released in the UK in early Feb 2015, this beautiful hard-back graphic novel is one of those epic journeys of discovery told in a journal format. Turning to the opening page from that striking black and red dragon front cover makes you smile instantly and gives you a good idea of the character and vibe to expect from the rest of the book:

‘If you find this journal, please return it as soon as possible to: hand written address of Black‘Mor’

From this quirky opening, the entire story is then told in a combination of visual account style photos, sketches and paintings and journal format notes and updates. Each and every page is very busy and a feast for the eyes, filled with sketches, images of maps, paper cuttings, colourful posters, handwritten letters and ticket stubs. Every turned page reveals something unique and visually engaging and makes the story feel like you’re working through a document of historical account that’s really lived through an epic adventure.

The story is set in the 19th century, where explorer and artist Elian Black’Mor travels the world in search of those pesky lost dragons. The setting combined with the flowery prose gives it that Jules Verne and Jonathan Swift vibe of classic fantasy exploration, all accompanied with a stunning presentation akin to the Grail Diary of Henry Jones Sr. as seen in Indy’s Last Crusade. Later in the book the story even directly references Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth, what were subtle inspirations at the beginning becoming a little more signposted as the story progresses.

It goes without saying really that the stunning paintings of dragons in this book are a joy to behold. Each and every dragon is stylistically realised with unique designs and accompanying “scientific” narrative in hand scrawled notes. Amongst these paintings are numerous sketches too. There’s cars, buildings and the occasional human character which appear to be very Tim Burton-esque with bulging eyes, crazy hair and eye shadows. (Think Corpse Bride)

It’s not just the art that’s stunning, there’s some lovely literary imagery on display here too. ‘The tears of the last great dragons are the origins of amber.’ How magical is that concept? And if you have trouble visualising that idea, don’t worry, as it becomes even more magical when accompanied by a stunning painting of a dragon crying liquid gold tears.

Watch our staff writer Jane take a look inside on Dragon Zoo’s Official YouTube Channel now:

However, the book isn’t perfect. In our opinion the story could have been stronger, less disjointed and told with more emotion or with reference to more characters. Considering that the search is for lost dragons, there could have been more build up too, more locations explored by our journalist before any dragons were found, but sadly that’s not the case here. After the mists depart on the first adventure to reveal the bones of a giant dragon, there’s a new dragon discovered on seemingly every page and it’s an unanswered question that niggles, “just why are they appearing everywhere Black’Mor seems to go?” this is addressed once or twice but nothing major is made out of it, and the book could have really benefited either from a more “realistic” build up to the discovery of dragons, or, a really interesting explanation as to why they’re appearing on every journey.

That said, when the art is this good, and the presentation format so engaging and just so visually stimulating and beautiful, the story really takes a backseat no matter how strong it could have been. This is one stunning book, and for fans of dragons, this is a Dragon Zoo rated: Must Buy.

To read more about Lost Dragons and to get an exclusive PDF preview, visit the official English site on Dynamite.com and be sure to watch the gorgeous book trailer.

Elian Black’Mor and Carine-M are French authors and first published In Search of Lost Dragons back in 2011 in French, “SUR LA PISTE DES DRAGONS OUBLIÉS” the book was translated to English and released for the US and UK in February 2015 by Dynamite. The good news is that there’s more Black’Mor Chronicles, one book already available in France and available to buy in English from the official website entitled ‘The Demons’ and one due for release in France in the Fall of 2015 called Western Dragons.

Visit http://www.elian-black-mor.com/ for more information or, http://www.arsenic-et-bouledegomme.com/fr/shop/ for the official shop.

In Search of Lost Dragons can be found at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

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