JP On Gaming

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

[Kinda Book Review] The Troisieme Testament Julius V

I took a long time to savor reading this book, the final chapter in the Prequel to "Le Troisieme Testament." It sat on the shelf, looking at me. Tempting me. Testing my willpower to resist, until alas.

I mean, like the First Series (click here for review) completed with a big reveal and a massive confrontation, this one does the same. Even if you knew how it would end it closes the biggest plot holes well enough and I was genuinely sad to get to the end.

This story has everything: battles, tie-ins with historical events, giving them an interesting and supernatural twist that makes this into a massive apocalyptic battle. The characters are so good and exciting. Whereas characters faded into one another in the earlier part of the story, at this point, they are well established.

Many of them passed through so many difficult times and ordeals. The internal torment of the characters are beautifully rendered with concise and evocative dialogue, mixed with the art gives a very clear sense of what is happening. Every one of the characters has a path all its own that comes to a roaring crash here.

The art is just on point. Here the supernatural against permeates the story to make you wince in terror for the implications, more than what you actually see. The scene I added here is one of those. It's not gory or disgusting but the beauty of the art and the dispair in the man's eyes tells you more than any dialogue could.

The battle scenes are filled with action and are so evocative, you get the feeling there are indeed thousands of troops converging on each other. The battle for Jerusalem, with the Zealots, the Sicarii, and the Romans is the kind of conflicts that you can only do in a book like this. In a movie, it would not capture the feel. The sequel of confrontations in the burning Temple bring to the fore all the angst and desires of everyone. The dialogue is short but its impact on the protagonists is profound. My breath shortened as I forced myself to slow down to savor and enjoy the panels.

We are blessed with two epilogues. The first one closes the story of "Julius," bringing the two main characters together one last time. In a scene that is just brilliantly poignant, they face each other one last time. Again, the religious aspect is played here so brilliantly, in the simplest of words. Gut wrenching as you want the antagonist to do what's right but he refuses. And its final frame showing the uncaring bust of the Emperor Vespasian looking on with uncaring eyes.

The second is less emotional, but leads into the prequel. It was a nice wink and good transition.

So even though this is a prequel, it stands on its own 100%. If you did not read the original, the story would be complete and satisfying. But that there are two parts, makes it just awesome. Just a great read all-around.

Oh what about the spoilers for the First Part? The end wrapping leads into it that should you read is in chronological order (Julius, then the Original) the reveal at the end is still applicable. The Testament here serves as a McGuffin to drive the action. The original tells us about its content. Masterful storytelling by Alex Alice. And the art.

Rating? 5/5 of course. No hesitation. None. I re-read it again before writing this review and I was just as enamored with it as I was before. That ending... awesome. I tried to find a flaw or issue with this and as I look for nitpicks, I keep noticing tiny gems I missed previously. I find no fault in that. There is a clear beginning/ middle/ end. And nothing more NEEDS to be said. Though we could expand on some things. We could expand on the crusade era, but that is not needed. The two parts hold everything together.

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