By Mézières & Christin
With anticipation building for the Valerian movie building the books should begin to get the broader audience they so deserve, and although Cinebook have produced over a dozen volumes now that’s not too many to sink your teeth into and enjoy should it all be new to you.
In a bold move, On The Frontiers doesn’t even feature our two heroes for almost a score of pages, relying instead on Mézières and Christin’s gift to create tantalising otherworldly beings and places, and in particular two seemingly extraordinary aliens of exceptional power. When we eventually catch up with Valerian and Laureline they are, as a result of recent events, now effectively unemployed but are still effective, leading them to thwart a plot to detonate a nuclear device that is surprisingly prescient in light of global events since this story was written.
Their investigations lead them to Hong Kong and a casino where Laureline places herself, with confidence, in the presence of a mysterious man who appears to have luck on his side, but there’s a connection between him and the aliens featured at the story’s opening and he is far from ignorant, spotting that Laureline is more than she appears and abducting her to learn more. Ever resourceful and hardly the damsel in distress, it becomes a question of teamwork with Valerian working on the outside to unravel the mystery once and for all.
A good story keeps you interested by avoiding cliche, and Mézières and Christin are consistent in doing so. Yes, there’s a reasonable chance Valerian and Laureline will come out on top (even that’s not guaranteed) but it’s the rich tapestry of science-fiction possibilities that keep the outcomes fresh and interesting, and the characters more than just starkly-painted good guys and bad guys.
If you’ve not discovered Valerian and Laureline, yet, now’s the time to get stuck in.
And if you liked that: Plenty more books on the horizon from www.cinebook.com