Published by First Second on July 9th, 2013
Genres: fantasy, graphic novel, historical
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Martin is one of a handful of Templar Knights to escape when the king of France and the pope conspire to destroy the noble order. The pope and king aim to frame the Templars for heresy, execute all of them, and make off with their legendary treasure. That's the plan, anyway, but Martin and several other surviving knights mount a counter-campaign to regain the lost treasure of the Knights Templar.
With gorgeous illustrations by LeUyen Pham and Alexander Puvilland and lush coloring from Hilary Sycamore, this 480-page, full-color, hardcover graphic novel by Jordan Mechner is itself a treasure
I was a little worried about reading Templar, to be honest. Religious themes and a religious storyline? Not really my thing. But you know what? It didn’t bother me much at all. It certainly wasn’t preachy, and honestly, it was just a really GREAT story. What I know about the Templars I basically learned from a Steve Berry novel and I am kind of ashamed about that. I’m sure we learned a little about them in school but I don’t remember. But honestly, I think Steve Berry did pretty well with his historical accuracy so I can’t complain.
I’m hearing that this is one of the longest graphic novels that a lot of people have ever read, and it was a pretty big one, but it reads so quickly and graphic novels can be finished in a few hours anyway. But just because it can be read in a few hours doesn’t mean it isn’t immersive, engaging and completely attention grabbing. I blocked out the world when I read this and two hours passed and it felt like fifteen minutes.
The story was deep, well-developed, and the panels were beautifully drawn. It’s tough to pick this one apart, but there are a few things I didn’t like, and they mostly DID involve the panels, unfortunately, as lovely as they were. This is a very complicated story and there is a LOT going on. It jumps around a lot, which is fine, but I did have an issue telling the characters apart at times because they looked very similar to my eye. And then there were a couple times where I found the panels confusing and couldn’t figure out was going on for lack of text or not being able to follow the images. That said, it would eventually come to me shortly afterward. So if you get lost for a second, have no fear, because you will be found soon. That’s the main reason for the deduction of a star. There were a few clarity issues here.
So now we get to the big part that I need to talk about vaguely and try not to spoil. The ending. Well, let’s just say I should have seen it coming, but it was a bit of a shocker still the same. It’s an ending that will bowl you over, and somehow I can’t help but be a little disappointed over that. I can’t deduct for it because history dictates that things did not go well for the Templars, but some things DO go well here. Just…not what I wanted to.
I can’t hate on this book too much though because it is action-packed and exciting from the very first page until the last. Fast pacing, no filler material, an intriguing romance/heist plot, and just a great story all around. It also had some delightful touches of comedy that had me giggling. Yes, I giggled. Sometimes it’s incredibly smart to go out of your comfort zone and read something you wouldn’t normally read. I am really glad I did so with Templar.