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‘Savor’ TPB (review)

Written by Neil Kleid
Art by John Broglia, Frank Reynoso
Published by Dark Horse Comics

 

Did you ever read a book where you didn’t know the name of the book or the names of its creators or even who published it? That’s the case with today’s offering, which may or may not be called Savor.* (* It is — Editor)

My PDF review copy didn’t even come with a front or back cover, copyright page, title page…nothing. Nothing but story.

The Internet being what it is, I could have looked it up, of course, but the very first line reads, “A story then. To whet our appetites.”

Hm. I kind of liked the idea of reading it completely blind, with absolutely no knowledge of what it was about or where it came from.

And that’s just what I did.

Immediately I was drawn into a unique fictional world where everything—and I mean everything—is based around cooking. It isn’t set in the past as there are cell phones and headphones and references to Yelp and other modern trappings. Kentucky barbecue even gets a mention.

But it certainly isn’t set in our world, either.

Stories, quests, journeys. Everyone has one, and in this world, they are all-important rituals.

We meet young Savor, who is sort of apprenticing under Coriander, a more experienced warrior chef, but technically just bussing tables in her parents’ island restaurant. At night, though, Cori is also teaching Save weapons fighting, as well as regaling her with legends of great and terrible demons and illustrious warrior chefs.

Eventually, Savor sails away for formal culinary training.

It’s upon her return, six years later, that HER story begins.

The kitchens and restaurants of the island paradise where she grew up have been destroyed or taken over by demons and pirates, with her parents held hostage by the biggest demon of them all. Together with her old friend, Cori, they must go on a quest to try and piece together the legendary blade that can stop the Big Bad and save the day.

Along the way, clever villains abound, such as Julienne Wild, a four-armed Benihana chef, flinging sizzling hot shrimp at his foes, or Thai Food Mary, who challenges Savor to an Iron Chef-style cooking duel.

If this one is ever made into a TV series, it needs to run on the Food Network. There are SO many cooking and food-related references, names, in-jokes, and puns in this book, I’m sure I missed quite a few of them.

The writing is superb, drawing the reader in quickly and letting them pick up on all the unusual trappings of this world as they go along. Before you know it, it all makes sense and you’re following along just fine, anxious to see what’s dished up next.

The backstory of Savor’s hero-worship/crush on Coriander lends some real tenderness to the events as while she’s ostensibly out to save her parents, it’s obvious to us if not to her that she cares more about Cori. At one point, Cori admits to stalling on the search for Savor’s parents because, “I’m not ready for all of this to end.”

The artwork is delicious as well, using all the modern techniques with color and distortions but with some striking visuals and good old-fashioned storytelling as its base.

Excitement, laughter, adventure, blood, warmth, a few tears, some carrots, onions, and potatoes…Mixed all together, these ingredients make a lovely and SAVOR-y stew unlike anything you’ve ever tasted…err…read.

Well, unless maybe Robert E. Howard wrote a cookbook with which I’m not familiar.

Booksteve recommends.

 

 

 

 

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