Imagine that you wake up to find yourself on a strange planet. You know your name, but beyond a few blurred memories, that’s all. When you meet the other denizens of the planet, you learn you have something called a soulstone in you, and you must learn to use the powers before returning to your home planet. Welcome to the world of Earthsong.
Our main character, Willow, enjoys such a fate when she awakens. Included among her new companions is Earthsong herself, the personified spirit of the planet. However, Earthsong’s “brother,” Beluosus, has hidden himself within the planet as well. With his band of followers, he is trying to collect enough soulstones to rebuild his own planet, which was mysteriously destroyed several eons ago. To make things trickier, both Beluosus and Earthsong appear to have a special connection to Willow, who simply wants her new friends and family to be happy and live harmoniously.
While it looks like your average magic-girl, fantasy adventure story, Earthsong is quite different. The characters are all species of myth: elves, fairies, werewolves, dragons, and more each inhabit a single planet within the Earthsong universe. Also of note is the author’s preference for female characters filling in many of the traditional masculine roles. The main characters are well-fleshed out, allowing them to display and develop a range of emotions that are not limited to the sad-mad-glad trio. The secondary characters remain stable in their designated roles as well, allowing the narrative to flow, while keeping the focus on the main story.
The author, Crystal Yates, has a BA in Fine Art History, Egyptology, and Archaeology, so the characters she’s created and the lands that they inhabit are finely detailed to match their respective origins. Besides the normal medieval European motifs generally found in fantasy, there’s influences from Egyptian, Mediterranean, and Native American cultures, amongst others. Her color scheme also matches the natural world, instead of relying on “unnatural” colors to further symbolize a fantasy world. For the characters and creatures without normal skin tones, the colors are subdued so they do not detract from the character, only enhancing their overall appearance.
Besides Earthsong, Yates helped found tomgeeks.com, a website that collects webcomics featuring non-traditional female characters. Currently, the website is no longer active, but is still up for viewing by new readers. You can read her current comic, Earthsong, at Earthsongsaga.com