A plot that refuses to let you go.

In a short 24 pages, Micah Metz accomplishes what many novelists fail to do in that many chapters. He weaves a world lush with detail, filled with characters, and hooks you into a plot that refuses to let you go. The first in a (hopeful) series of fifteen, “The Birth of Good and Evil” lays the foundation for what could be the end of the world.

Set in a world where twelve shattered Sonto nations have been fighting for centuries, we learn they have no resources left to sustain them – until a mysterious and seemingly mindless “Cimmerians” appear. The Cimmerians replace the nutrient dense plants the Sontos ate prior to the wars. These organisms bond with a host, and then provide the vital nutrients needed to continue living – and fighting. As a result of this process, Sontos are practically immortal – though killing the Cimmerian will deliver a lethal shock to the host’s system.

All seems well and good, until the moment a Cimmerian bonds with a general’s son and transforms him into something this world has never seen. What was once a boy named Thomas is turned into a being calling itself “Calamitous,” and begins the slow and seemingly inevitable path of destroying the world as the Sontos know it – unless someone steps in. Using cunning and twisted loyalties, Calamitous gleefully does his best to bring the entire world to its knees. Enter our heroes, a band of Sontos who have been surviving together for centuries.

Without spoiling one of many important points in this story, suffice it to say not only does this plot hook the reader, it grabs the reader around the shoulders and drags them head first into political intrigue, tactical skirmishes, and what it might really mean to be human. Because “Burdens” started out as a novel, it has a style appealing to readers who are used to deep plots while having an art style drawing in those who may need more visual components to connect with the story.

Designed to be read around the time the reader explores Lord of the Rings, Metz purposefully planned his works to cause meaningful conversations and discussions. Subjects such as death, violence, good and evil, and questionable moral decisions are not shied away from. Instead, Metz portrays them in a clear, open manner.

Originally a 300-page novel, after four years of writing, twelve complete edits, two songs being written about it, and two artists considered for the artwork, “Burdens of Draco” became a reality. Metz is dedicated to the clarity and truth of his storytelling, and the remaining issues will be eagerly awaited by his readers.

- Olivia Lauritzen, Upland, Indiana

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