Two otherworldly beings forge an unlikely friendship and navigate their own insecurities and jealousies.
In the land of Chasma, where knights reign supreme, the Neon Knights are the laughingstock. All of the other knights, including the strong Sulfurs and powerful Oxygens, can “catalyze” with Toys—cute creatures reminiscent of Pokémon—and can combine their intrinsic elemental powers with those of the cuddly-looking, power-boosting companions. Beryl, a bubblegum-pink Neon Knight, yearns to catalyze but cannot, instead spending her days turning broken Toys into new creations that are awesome in their own right. Beryl befriends lemon-lime Coro, an ostentatious Oxygen Knight who is a dealer at the Toy Market. Each one is quietly jealous of the other’s ability: Coro of Beryl’s ingenuity and Beryl of Coro’s ability to catalyze. Through a series of missteps, the pair eventually learn to enjoy both their own gifts and the strength their relationship yields. Sun and Petty’s graphic-novel worldbuilding is well-wrought and easily accessible, making a tale of jealousy and friendship feel immensely new and fresh. With meticulously designed panels and a clean layout, Sun’s illustrations are imaginatively rendered with a whimsical palette of candy-inspired hues including a cheery lemon-sorbet–tinged yellow, a fiery cinnamon red, and a grand, grape-y purple. Although the book is a stand-alone, do not be surprised if kids demand more adventures (and wish for a Toy of their own!) in this charmingly inventive world.
Adorable and innovative. (Graphic science fiction. 6-10)