The great Time Collision ripped apart time and space and remade it: dinosaurs in the distance, spaceships in the skies, robots, and humans of all eras now inhabit this remixed world.
Santiago Ribera is a Pinoy engineer whose inventions are aiding postwar stability in New Chicago, the home he shares with his wife, Siobhan, an Irish fighter pilot and war hero, and their son, Diego, whose otherworldly power begins to make itself known on his 13th birthday. Baltazar’s story is a captivating adventure lavishly illustrated with beautiful full-color paintings worth lingering over. Diego is a likable kid who sometimes gets it wrong but makes it right. The women and girls avoid both one-dimensionality and overcompensatory badassery and have emotional depth—for the most part: one of two prominent black characters in the book, Paige, outruns her role as sassy best friend but not by far. None of this nuance is given to the other black main character, Ajax. Not only is he a humble but incredibly strong man over 7 feet tall, but he fought for the Union after escaping enslavement, and he’s bought into the dominant American narrative that includes the misapprehension that Paige, a black girl in Chicago, is not fighting systemic racism and has the “freedom to choose a better way”—that she is not “bound to [history].” His earnest articulation of this lesson makes it very hard to overlook the use of two common black character tropes and undermines what is otherwise an exciting new series.
Expert illustration and imaginative worldbuilding with unfortunate stereotyping. (Steampunk. 8-12)