Review by Ian Keogh
Over two books titled after her, Orchid seemed to lack a purpose. She has a forthright personality and a willingness to fight for what she believes in, but until the final chapter of volume two she remained almost surplus to requirements. That chapter established her as the figurehead of a revolution that has so far failed to spark in this dystopian future, and volume three pulls that forward. It’s a mask that’s reconfigured Orchid, one of the more original ideas of Tom Morello’s plot being that it’s a mystical device that will kill anyone other than the virtuous attempting to wear it. It’s a purpose clarified in the opening chapter here, and one that draws connections between Orchid and the saint of an earlier era, Joan of Arc.
Much of the previous two books has given the impression of prolonging the story for the sake of filling the trilogy Morello wanted, but once he hits the finale matters move faster. Anyone who’s been reading closely probably won’t be too surprised by what’s intended as a couple of shocks, and the ending is surely as predictable as all get out, but none of that is the purpose. On reading this third book it become apparent that what’s gone before has insinuated itself a little better than might have been considered at the time as there’s a real adrenaline rush from the first page to the last over what’s an inevitable plot. That’s quite the trick to pull off.
Credit must go to Scott Hepburn, whose art over three books has been a perpetual source of understated storytelling. He’s never too flash, but his layouts are action-packed and he’s not a man afraid of the work being the complete storyteller entails. He doesn’t shirk from illustrating full figures, from showing an army as an army or consistently supplying fine small details.
There’s a purpose, and that purpose will be achieved, which makes this the best of the three books. It’s all thriller and no filler.