Geis – A Matter of Life & Death

A geis is a mythological Gaelic curse, under which you must obey certain rules and limitations or suffer the consequences. But rules are always broken and that’s when it gets interesting.

On her deathbed, the great leader Matarka has decreed a contest to decide who will succeed her. After her passing, fifty random citizens are summoned in the middle of the night and placed under the geis presided over by the sinister sorceress Niope. This book chronicles their first trial, but details of the contest unfold only as the contenders play by or challenge the rules. Is it possible for them to work together?

This first book in a trilogy of graphic novels is a departure for Deacon, better known for his award-winning picturebooks (Beegu, Slow Loris, et al) for young readers. And while Geis is not a difficult read, some of the subject matter and imagery maybe a little creepy for children under 10.

Deacon’s artwork has a soft quality and a subdued but varied palette that may not appeal to some. However, for those willing to spend time with the illustrations there is much to see. The world Deacon has created is anachronistic and richly imagined; with medieval costumes, Elizabethan buildings, fantastic flying machines and fanciful dinosaurs all stirred into a melting pot of multicultural magicks. This is an adventure story, but one that thoughtfully pits self-serving against self-sacrifice, and asks which magic is more powerful, the persistence of life or the apathy of death?