In this stand-alone graphic novel, a human child must locate his changeling to save the fay world from a ruthless usurper.
Living with the fay king and queen, human Childe (who’s never been given a proper name) spends his days as a fawned-over curiosity. However, when the belowground realm’s throne is seized by malevolent queen Hawthorne, it falls on Childe to venture up into the human world to find his changeling. Aboveground, Childe and the candle-golem Whick soon locate Edmund, who struggles both to appear human and to keep his fay magic at bay. Before long, Childe, Whick, Edmund, and Edmund’s human sister, Alexis, find themselves scurrying along labyrinthine subway tunnels into the Below and fighting dangerous dragons, savage statues, and a rancorous royal. Refreshingly free of even a whisper of romance, Aldridge’s pleasing adventure gives a nod to many well-loved fantasy tropes, including fairies, dragons, talking animals, and witches. As richly imagined in the full-color illustrations, the worldbuilding is both accessible and as familiar as those genre stalwarts. Some of the action scenes feel a bit rushed and may leave readers wanting more, but this quibble aside, this should easily resonate with preteen and teen fans of both Holly Black and Neil Gaiman. All of the human characters—including peripheral ones—are white.
Fantasy comfort food that hits all the genre notes. (Graphic fantasy. 9-14)