A Fully Realized Fantasy
Branchwater's strengths lay in its originallity. In fact, there is so much history behind the fictional continent and kingdom in question, it almost gets confusing at times. Maus has obviously put countless hours into realizing the continent of Esrael, the kingdom of Branchwater, and the characters that live there. The story starts out with a tournament duel. The mantlik champion (mantliks being guardians to humans) facing off against the human in quite a spiteful battle. Once the tournament is complete, the citizens rest easy and partake in the joys of the festivities, knowing nothing of the army sailing towards their innocent, vulnerable shores. Laden with lush, visual details, Branchwater is a winner, easily read and enjoyed by kids and adults alike.
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