Rose is a young woman who grew up in a world where magic has become not just frowned upon, but outright banned. Entire villages are burned and people killed for even associating with Guardians, the people who use magic. Children suspected of having magic are hunted down and killed. Traditionally, when the world was at peace, the Guardians had companions called khats--giant sentient cats that were bonded with their human counterparts. But all of the khats were wiped out years ago, save one, Thorne. Volume One of Rose is the story of how Rose discovers her powers, and how she and Thorne find each other.
I really loved the concept for this comic, as well as the artwork. Rose comes into her power by accident and has to be on the run, to escape the power-hungry evil Queen Drucilla, who wants all the Guardians destroyed. We are introduced to a band of people who are resisting the queen, and see indications that there is a movement brewing. It's a traditional fantasy story that deals with familiar themes, and I think high fantasy fans will enjoy it. A lot happens in the space of the first volume, alliances made and broken, promises made, and characters grow. We can see that Rose is a charismatic character who has potential to lead the entire movement against the evil Queen, and by the end of the volume, she's already won a person to her side. Volume 1 ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, and so I'll definitely be picking up the next volume to see what happens.
One criticism that might be made is that Rose could be considered a bit of a Mary Sue character, but really I think the creators handled this well--we can see that Rose has a lot to learn still, and her magic isn't refined, even though she has the power. Now that she is united with her khat companion, who is older and knows more about magic, it'll be interesting to see how she develops.
Rose, Volume One: The Last Light is exciting and action-packed, with heroes you cheer for and villains you want to see defeated. It's definitely one you'll want to read straight through. All in all, I highly recommend for fantasy lovers!
Melanie R. Meadors is the author of fantasy stories where heroes don't always carry swords and knights in shining armor often lose to nerds who study their weaknesses. Her fiction has most recently appeared in the anthologies Champions of Aetaltis and Kaiju Rising II: Reign of Monsters. Melanie is the co-director of the Gen Con Writer's Symposium and the publisher at Outland Entertainment. She's the co-editor of the anthology MECH: Age of Steel and editor of Hath No Fury, and she is a blogger and general b*tch monkey at The Once and Future Podcast.