If you are looking for a typical fantasy novel with fantasy adventure and situations, Verse Book 1: The Broken Half by Sam Beck is the graphic novel series you are looking for. However, there is some violence, but mostly it is there to move the story along, to show such things as characters’ personalities and such, and not for shock. Still it is for mature audiences/older readers. There are lovely illustrations that are busy, and can be physically dark in colors and shadows. Of course, there is the use of light and brighter colors to set the mood, but you feel as if you are in the forests of old Europe. However, our main girl is of color (a flashback/dream makes it look as if she is from India or middle eastern descent). The cover is giving off medieval, historical vibes (and though the cover looks like Saga by Brian K. Vaughan, that is the only similarity). The world is magic, peasants, thieves and monsters that are a combination of several types, such as zombies, tentacles, sharp teeth, variety of clothed or unclothed, and some child-like and/or female presenting, and some are male presenting. It is a familiar story, with a few new twists and turns.
The story itself is classic: a young boy, bordering on manhood, is going to the city to learn to become a better swordsmith (leaving his father and memories of a brother behind in his small village). On the road, he runs into a stranger who uses words to seemingly cause a mysterious girl to appear (an amulet is also involved) and said girl is magical and looks like the Vel, the monsters of the realm and the link to the old ways when magic ruled. But she can speak and has free will. And of course, they fall into the company of a band of traitors, thieves, and unsavory types. Some terms are used we know (wraith) but used in different context than what you might be used to. There are villains, secret societies, spies that are a little lacking in stealth, many secrets and each character has a past. But there are a few new elements that make the story not the same-old-same-old, but you usually have a good idea where things are heading. The pacing is slow to medium with this first book doing a lot of build up.
I am not sure why I had asked my library to find me a copy, but it was a nice cozy read. I probably should have done a read-again since I know I missed a few things (or the flow might be a tad off so some information is not there/what I needed/wanted was missing), but I got the main point. I have requested the second book in the series, but book three is not due until August 2024.