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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

This Land: The Fall of Tāne by Mark Abnett

After barely escaping the Whitetomb with the knowledge they sought, Hell'na and her companions confront Tāne for answers and discover the source of the Fever that has left Te-Riu-a-Māui forever changed. With Shepherd and her mercenaries within striking distance, a dangerous journey to the Underworld uncovers the body of Māui. With Whiro now roaming the land, his defeat becomes Hell'na's new mission.

This is the continuation of the journey within the reborn world of Aotearoa, now known as Te-Riu-a-Māui. This graphic novel is visual feast, with an action-packed story full of fascinating characters and plenty of humour. It's a story that has been missing on the shelves and one that is so desperately needed.

Author Mark Abnett and his crew bring heritage and history of New Zealand to life. There are many familiar places, names and characters, but the story is intended to be taken in a futuristic context, with respect to the past.

Te reo Māori is sprinkled throughout the text, with English translations alongside. I love that the team behind the graphic novels includes translator and cultural practitioner Trent Brown-Marsh, guidance by Verona-Meiana Putaranui, iwi designer Seb Wikaraka Peni and tā moko artist Te Haunui Tuna. There's a real desire to do things respectfully and correctly. The behind-the-scenes section, included at the back of the book, is fantastic. It offers readers a glimpse behind the teams' thinking and processes.

While this is book two, The Fall of Tāne can be a standalone as readers are taking on a quick trip back before picking up where the first left off. But the series is stunning, readers are short-changing themselves if they start from book 2.

It is another thrilling read that captivated me instantly. I love that there is a graphic novel telling this story and opening it up to a whole new audience. If you're a graphic novel reader, you know that reading is never enough. You have to interpret the artwork too, and The Fall of Tāne is no different. I loved spotting the little clues and developing my knowledge and understanding through the gorgeous illustrations.

A fantastic reimaging of Aotearoa New Zealand that uses the power of graphic novels to its full stunning effect.


Reviewed by Rebekah Lyell


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