Samantha, the young heroine of Angelica Maria’s webcomic Solstoria, wants two things in her life: She wants to become a knight and she wants to find out what happened to her older brother, an alchemy student who went missing. In her quest she’ll encounter a protective crow, a moon priestess, and plenty of things that want to kill her.
Top image from Angelica Maria’s deviantART gallery.
Samantha Russell is about to leave the farmlands for the first time in her life, headed off to capital city to enroll at the Academy so she can become a knight and defend the land of St. Helena. But her parting is bittersweet, and not just because she’s leaving her family behind. Sam is haunted by the disappearance of her academically-minded brother, Lawrence, and an event she can’t quite remember.
Little does Sam know that her journey coincides with the emergence of a dark mystical power, one connected to Lawrence’s disappearance — one that actively means Sam harm.
What’s wonderful about Solstoria is how quickly Maria plunges us into her world and the how high the stakes are for Sam, even if she doesn’t always know it. The magic of her world is readily understandable and full of danger, but Maria doesn’t feel the need to explain every little thing right away. The world is an interesting mix, where trains and (sometimes aging) telephone lines coexist with charmed daggers and moon priestesses with genuine healing abilities. It’s a place where magic can poison the land and ghosts stuck in the physical plane can enact desperate acts of violence.
To some extent, Solstoria is like the best sort of bedtime story: something that children can enjoy while also giving them some nice scares. But the older folks among us can easily slip into the mystery and the world — and appreciate Maria’s bright and expressive art.