This eclectic world of Chinese culture, fantasy, and nonstop action is worth exploring.

THE DRAGON PATH

A family prophecy and long-kept secrets spell out a new destiny for a Chinese clan.

Young throws readers right into the fray in his latest steampunk graphic novel. A motorized village, revealed to be the Wong Clan’s, is returning to their ancestral home, the Old Land. With the encouragement of his dubious adviser, Quan, Lord Wong believes that in returning they will fulfill a prophecy. Meanwhile Lord Wong’s willful young son, Prince Sing, has been seeing visions about his mother’s death and what initiated his ancestors’ exodus from their homeland. When the clan is attacked by the reptilian Dragon Tribe for trespassing and past injustices, Sing is lost. Presumed dead, Sing is in fact in the company of Ming the Mystic and a colossal black-and-white feline with a single horn. Themes of betrayal and true identities, with magic woven throughout, create an action-packed adventure. The neatly aligned panels are filled with movement thanks to Young’s definitively lined, bold, cartoon style. Young’s choice of a neon color palette and artful use of shading bring a vibrancy and heightened emotional depth to each scene. Though the plot teems with characters and complicated interwoven backstories, an even pace and balanced story are maintained. A few lingering questions at the end are a small price to pay for the fun.

This eclectic world of Chinese culture, fantasy, and nonstop action is worth exploring. (Graphic steampunk. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-36330-2

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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DRAMA

From award winner Telgemeier (Smile, 2010), a pitch-perfect graphic novel portrayal of a middle school musical, adroitly capturing the drama both on and offstage.

Seventh-grader Callie Marin is over-the-moon to be on stage crew again this year for Eucalyptus Middle School’s production of Moon over Mississippi. Callie's just getting over popular baseball jock and eighth-grader Greg, who crushed her when he left Callie to return to his girlfriend, Bonnie, the stuck-up star of the play. Callie's healing heart is quickly captured by Justin and Jesse Mendocino, the two very cute twins who are working on the play with her. Equally determined to make the best sets possible with a shoestring budget and to get one of the Mendocino boys to notice her, the immensely likable Callie will find this to be an extremely drama-filled experience indeed. The palpably engaging and whip-smart characterization ensures that the charisma and camaraderie run high among those working on the production. When Greg snubs Callie in the halls and misses her reference to Guys and Dolls, one of her friends assuredly tells her, "Don't worry, Cal. We’re the cool kids….He's the dork." With the clear, stylish art, the strongly appealing characters and just the right pinch of drama, this book will undoubtedly make readers stand up and cheer.

Brava!  (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-32698-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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A brisk, buffed-up finish threaded with inner and outer, not to mention sartorial, changes.

THE TOWER OF NERO

From the Trials of Apollo series , Vol. 5

In this tumultuous series closer, Apollo, transformed into a mortal teenager, takes on both a deified emperor in a luxurious Manhattan high-rise and an older adversary.

Lester/Apollo’s coast-to-coast quest reaches its climactic stage as, with help from both eager squads of fledgling demigods from Camp Half-Blood and reluctant allies from realms deep below New York, he invades the palatial lair of Emperor Nero—followed by a solo bout with another foe from a past struggle. Riordan lays on the transformation of the heedless, arrogant sun god to a repentant lover of his long-neglected semidivine offspring and of humanity in general, which has served as the series’ binding theme, thickly enough to have his humbled narrator even apologizing (twice!) to his underwear for having to change it periodically. Still, the author delivers a fast, action-driven plot with high stakes, lots of fighting, and occasional splashes of gore brightened by banter and silly bits, so readers aren’t likely to mind all the hand-wringing. He also leaves any real-life parallels to the slick, megalomaniacal, emotionally abusive Nero entirely up to readers to discern and dishes out just deserts all round, neatly tying up loose ends in a set of closing vignettes. The supporting cast is predominantly White, with passing mention of diverse representation.

A brisk, buffed-up finish threaded with inner and outer, not to mention sartorial, changes. (glossary) (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4847-4645-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2020

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