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TCAF Read: Legend of Bold Riley

Following my previous TCAF read, back in May I had the pleasure to bond with Zan, the owner of a LGBT-focused publishing company called Northwest Press. He gave me the honor of reading one of his books, The Legend of Bold Riley, a graphic novel created by Leia Weathington.

Bold Riley, otherwise known as Rilavashana, is a young princess who leaves the comforts of her palace to travel the world outside of her country Prakkalore. When we flip through the pages, brought to life with dark and leafy greens, splashes of gold and crimson, the colors allow us to settle within this ancient culture. The pages also have interesting layouts, but this is inconsistently met throughout the book. This must be due to the fact that each chapter is illustrated and colored by different artists. Still, it would have been great if all chapters, despite having distinct artistic styles, had as unique layouts as the first one. Regardless, I appreciate the fact that several artists contributed to this book; it’s not something you see every day.

As Bold Riley crosses forests, and stumbles upon villages on her way to various cities, she encounters several mystical beings that either help her or cause her trouble. Her journeys are written in a way in which the novel almost feels like an anthology, but because they’re rather sequential tales, that aura doesn't fully blossom. Throughout the story, we feel as though we’re an observer; we’re not given the opportunity to relate to Riley. Perhaps it’s because there’s no character development beyond the prologue, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing that we can’t relate to her. 

From the first chapter/prologue. Graphic Policy posted a preview of the novel here!

This isn't much of a love story, if you’re looking for romance, but the subtleties of girl-girl love are as delicate as the hints of yuri present in some of our anime. She doesn't go through a period where she discovers she likes females, nor does she ever profess her sexual preference, so her sexuality isn't made a big deal here, and that’s a good thing— I think too often we come across stories that have to do with finding who we are. Riley is already certain of who she is, and that’s rather fresh. The last chapter is completely dedicated to her love life: she experiences a beautiful and passionate love. This was my favorite chapter.

By the end, we realize we've been fooled into thinking that the story has been progressing— there’s no proper ending: Riley has just ended another significant experience in her life. She rides off, but we don’t know where to. We don’t know if she ever goes back home, or how word of her name ever spread, like the beginning of the novel tells us.

Did I like Bold Riley? Yes. The most interesting parts of the book are the characters. I expected a lot more from those last pages, but I'm not disappointed because it's a pretty great read. 

Tags: comic, tcaf
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  • icon
    complex +1
    Understood. I am more excited about the publisher than this graphic novel, despite the fact I really enjoyed it. But Bold Riley makes me more curious about their other books. 。◕‿◕。
  • icon
    Nyome +1
    It's good to see a series that accepts a character as GLBT without feeling they need to use it as a selling point. It just would have been nice if it had progression. I never was one to enjoy episodic plots. I'd be more interested in the publishing company. But for this series I'd probably have to pass.
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