This is our review for the Road of Bones. Road of Bones is a horror/fantasy book by IDW Publications which is written by Rich Douek, pencils/inks/colors by Alex Cormack & lettered by Justin Birch.
This book is about a prisoner, Roman who managed to flee a prison. A prison which is considered as the living hell on the planet with other inmates. A splendid story tells us about the journey of these inmates to escape and try to reach Magadan. It very impressively narrates the difficulties faced by these people to survive the endless snow. They all know the chance of getting out of this alive is very low and that this snow can very easily become their graves. Clinging on to the hope of survival is far better than the hell of Kolyma.
It perfectly illustrated the pain, the psyche of the absconders who doesn’t want to go back to a netherworld. Road of Bones is full of bloody and grisly art and with the amazing narration of the struggle to stay alive through this intense travel from escaping hell makes this book an amazing read and worth every dollar.
My Rating: 9/10
My only problem was I wanted more of the horror element in the book involving Domovik. As I’m a huge fan of mythology/horror but that’s just me. Except that this book is a great short read. Buy the TPB here!
Spoiler Review of Road of Bones
This book revolves around a concentration camp who are prisoners. This faculty is held by the Russian military who use these prisoners for their labor. Here at the camp soldiers torture the inmates as they want without any hindrance. In this camp, we have Roman Morozov who is sentenced twenty-five years of imprisonment from simply making a joke on Stalin.
Roman grew up in a family where they left some food out for Domovik. Domovik is a household god from Russian folks. So even in prison Roman left some bread pieces for the creature. One night while doing so he got caught and his life sentence increased to 10 more years.
One day a revolt broke into the camp and Ramon with 2 other prisoners, Grigori & Sergei, manage to flee the camp to escape from this living hell of Kolyma with only some manageable food. After escaping the three of them only could find endless mountains and a single Hope to reach to Magadan. They travel weeks and weeks with only a small amount of food because Grigori has a plan to escape this.
The transition of dark and gritty art of the camp and the bright and calm of the mountains are amazing to see. Cormack’s transition between the light and dark theme is really spectacular.
The Plan to cross Road of Bones
Grigori’s plan to escape this living hell was Roman all along. They took roman with them in the first place just so he can be their food for the journey. This easily can be seen how much torture these men been gone through in order to want to eat a human being in order to escape that place. Throughout their journey Roman still leaving some food for Domovik, the fairy tale creature which he believes is real. Domovik is the one who told Roman about Sergi’s plan to kill him. When he found about their plan he fled.
When Grigori & Sergei weren’t able to find Roman, for him to survive Grigori attacked Sergei in order to keep him alive. But Roman came to the save and both of them fight Grigori. This brutal fight ended with Roman killing Grigori and he and Sergei eat up his dead flesh and drink his blood to keep them alive and warm.
This was a gruesome ending of Griodori’s life and a tremendous decision by Roman as he was not a soldier or a thug and this was not an easy task for him. It felt like Roman is being influenced by this Domovik in order to survive this long deadly voyage.
This guiding angel of Roman who helped him to survive the Grigori’s plan made him believe in Domovik even more. The reason he started giving this creature food in jail because he thought that feeding Domovik was the reason he was still alive in that bloody place and he couldn’t stop feeding him. After eating the flesh of Grigori, these two started their journey to reach Magadan.
Then after another week of travel, they came across a small forset they thought was a hunting cabin but was really and military check post. After reaching this close their hope died. They even thought of getting captured and so they can go back to that living hell. Because the weeks and weeks journey in the mountains took a huge toll on both their bodies and mind.
But Roman doesn’t want to lose hope and they move forward and found a cave where they light a fire but they are low on food. When Sergei slept, the Domovik came an killed him so Roman can eat and survive the long road. After another long week of travel, Roman finally arrived at Magadan with the body of Sergei.
This book does a great undertaking of showcasing the mental illness of prisoners in a brutal death camp. These inmates are tortured to that extent that even they start to believe a fiction so they don’t lose any hope. These prisoners are abused to that level that both their minds and bodies tend to break. They try to find escapism in anything to keep them sane.
Roman finds that escapism, that glimmer of hope in the fairy tale folk he been listening from his childhood about Domovik, who he thinks is looking after him that’s why he keeps giving him food. And his belief in him keeps grows stronger as Roman makes it to another day alive. Later at the cave, he was the one who killed Sergei and in his mind. He thought was Domovik who killed Sergei so he can stay alive but it was him all along.
See “Spoiler-free Review”