Though some authors get it right on their very first try – say, Ralph Ellison or Harper Lee – most take a few books to develop their voice and storytelling chops. Chika Shiomi is no exception to this rule, as Queen of Ragtonia, an early series, demonstrates.
The plot is standard-issue fantasy. Falna, a feisty young princess, is on a quest to save her kingdom from the Necromancer, an evil sorcerer who assassinated her family and unleashed a demon horde into the Pharsian countryside. She has her work cut out for her, however, as the Necromancer stole her left eye and her legs. With the help of a muscle-bound warrior named Cadmus and a magical sword called The Igliese, Falna sets out to reclaim her missing body parts and her once-beautiful homeland.
Though the art is polished, the creaky plot mechanics and tone-deaf script are hallmarks of an amateur work. There’s almost no tension in the story, as every potentially difficult situation is neatly resolved by the sudden arrival of a new character or convenient discovery of a new weapon. Nothing is revealed in an organic fashion; characters frequently resort to explaining terms and phenomena to one another as if they were studying for a history exam, not holding a casual conversation. Worse still, many of these explanations don’t make much sense and do little to advance the story.