Rêveillerie is a fairy tale, but not in the way you think.
It starts in an entirely ordinary fashion, with an altogether ordinary looking young girl, lost in the streets of what could be a perfectly normal city. By the second page, that illusion is dispelled – this world may be similar to our own in many ways, but magic is a part of everyday life in Tamhaile, and that’s all the difference it needs. The first people we meet, aside from our protagonist Emilind, are denizens of an only slightly unusual library – but are undeniably strange and elfin.
Of course, Emilind herself is far stranger.
Rêveillerie does a lot of things that have really won me over. The storybook feel is one of them – and something that is the product of far more than merely being set in a world of magic and fae. Little details lend it an almost classical weight – for example, the use of small pieces of text that feel like excerpts from an old-fashioned story. Sometimes these little lines fill in small pieces of background, sometimes they set the scene, sometime they give insights into a character’s mind… but all in all, they give the comic a sense of being grounded in more than merely pretty pictures.
Like any good fairy tale, Rêveillerie is built around a sense of mystery. Emelind is on a quest… though we don’t quite know why, or what she is truly looking for. We know a bit about her past, but not how it all connects, and certainly not what makes her so seemingly special in this strange world.
And as with any good mystery, with every answer we get, only more questions arise.
Rêveillerie has its moments of action, but at heart is a character driven story. Each member of the cast definitely plays their own role, and even the characters that are around only briefly still have enough personality to feel real.
Including Emelind herself, whose status as the hero of the story is slightly undermined by her vast self-centeredness. She treats other characters as… no more than tools, in many ways. They are useful to her if they will help her in her quest. She can’t trust anyone but herself. The opinions of others don’t matter to her, and she has a certain ruthlessness that indicates she’ll do what she has to to get her own way.
Oh, she acts pleasant most of the time, and when she does mistreat others, she seems to feel it was almost accidental – but that attitude is still there, and it is part of what really brings the story to life. Heroes are, after all, defined by their flaws. Hers are very real – and justified, certainly, by the fact that she was abandoned into a world that wasn’t her own, and the sense of betrayal that brings. It is easy to understand why she is the way she is – and again, thats the difference between a character a reader can be invested in, and a simple image on a page.
Not that the images on the page are bad, of course. The art is well put together, with soft colors that fit the mood of the tale pretty much spot-on.
The comic’s only real weakness, like with many on Comic Genesis, is that updates are intermittent. It isn’t any surprise – artists have lives, and work, and school, and making comics often has to take backseat to more pressing matters.
But that doesn’t make the strips themselves any weaker, and Rêveillerie has kept itself going for quite a few years now. Here’s hoping for plenty more to come.