While browsing through our local bookstore over the holiday weekend my eye was caught by a whole series of books which were using our Valdemar font prominently. The Age of Misrule book series by Mark Chadbourn features Valdemar as the main title for the series, so it appears on all the books in the series — three have been published so far, World’s End, Always Forever and Darkest Hour. The interesting part is that cover designer Nicole Sommer-Lecht actually seems to be paying attention, and used not only the widely disseminated original version of Valdemar, but also the much newer Valdemar Alternate character set. In fact, all of the letters in the word “misrule” in the title are from Valdemar Alternate except for the “s” which is drawn from the regular Valdemar set. The overall result is excellent, and it’s just the kind of book Valdemar was designed for. I also quite like the cover art by John Picacio, which is surprisingly conceptually reminiscent of the cover Howard David Johnson did for my Ysgarth RPG. Special kudos also go to Jon Anders of Pyr for putting such a good design team together.
I haven ‘t read the entire series yet, but so far World’s End is quite an engaging read. It’s well written and fast-moving, thematically reminiscent of some of the work of Robert Holdstock or Neil Gaiman, but much more commerically written for broad audience appeal. In some ways it’s a bit of a mish-mash, throwing every possible element of Celtic mythology together in an almost overwhelming way, but engaging characters and a quest-theme plot which keeps moving along makes it work. As a part-time celtophile I even rather like the particular interpretation of Celtic mythology which Chadbourn has opted for and the integration of mythological themes with a realistic contemporary setting. It’s more approachable than some books with similar themes without descending into the lighter fairy story mode which is so popular. In fact, it gets kind of grim with a strong ending which sets up the scenario for the coming books.
A good read with a great font as part of a really appealing cover design. What more could you ask for?