top of page

Become Sentient with the latest Pre-Order Campaign from Band of Bards!

SENTIENCE is a story of becoming self-aware, and not in a coming-of-age way.

Band of Bards is proud to announce their first Light Novel, SENTIENCE. This sci-fi, horror, steampunk mash-up was created and written by Elyse Russell (Grey Mother Mountain/Amongst the Stars), with art by Daniela Rivera (The Heiress/, and edited by Damon Barret Roe of Quill and Crow Publishing. SENTIENCE, an American light novel, is a new twist on a familiar format in Japan that has yet to grab a foothold in the United States.

SENTIENCE is a 13-chapter mix of comic art and prose, poised to shatter the boundaries of this fresh format.

A clockwork android named Kyra, completely assured of her place in the world, is becoming riddled in self-doubt and burdened with questions of her own identity. [Kyra is raised as a] humanoid assassin, performing [at the] behest of her Sorceress Mother, harvesting the energy of human souls. Manipulated all her life, Kyra is forced to undertake her mother’s twisted orders...until she falls in love. Forced to make a choice between loyalty to her abusive mother or to her own heart, Kyra must learn how to reclaim her identity and forge her own path in life. Band of Bards is working directly with ZOOP to bring a spectacular pre-order campaign to life this coming April!


You might've seen some process pics in our earlier exclusive, but in case you missed it, or you're thirsty for more, here're some sketches, early cover mock-ups, and fashion designs highlighting the work going into bringing the story and its characters to life.


Keep scrolling, and we've got the entire Prologue, just for you! No more teasers – get the full insight into Mother's machinations. Right here.

Right now.


Elyse Russell on building a relationship and working with artist Dany Rivera:

"Both Dany and myself are convinced that we were meant to meet and work together. We messaged each other in the exact same hour from two different websites, and everything has been smooth sailing ever since. We just plain clicked. Working with Dany is, honestly, one of my favorite things on the planet. We've become friends, too: we read (smutty) books together, tell jokes, and talk about life. Dany always picks up what I'm putting down, and then makes it BETTER."

Robyn Singer (Author, Final Gamble) on Elyse Russell and her light novel, SENTIENCE:

"Haunting prose, twisted imagination, and a lead who's anything but a hero make this sci-fi horror light novel stand out!"

Matt Ligeti of Comic Book Yeti (hey, that's me!) on the light novel's protagonist Kyra, and the relationship she has with her Mother:

"It's a woman-centric Pinocchio, elevated through nuance and a Geppetto so traumatized by loss that he (now she) has become as cold and methodical as the automatons she experiments on."


Having trouble reading? Yeah, Wix can be funny like that sometimes. If clicking on the images above and expanding them doesn't work, try the download link here:

Sentience - 00 - Harvester of Souls.docx
Download PDF • 77KB

*Final production edits not made, so ignore any stray commas, etc.


The SENTIENCE ZOOP Campaign expires Mid-May 2022, so you better partake before your soul takes flight. For additional press queries, please contact Band of Bards directly:

Band of Bards is an independent publisher of comics and graphic novels formed in March of 2021. Based in Buffalo, NY we are committed to publishing stories with a focus on Representation, Inclusion, and Diversity. We support creator-owned IP and intend to foster community, and change through intentional publishing.


bottom of page