A first-rate visual reframing: sensitive, artistically brilliant, and as charged as its enigmatic predecessor with profound...

THE GIVER

From the Giver Quartet series

An eerie graphic version of the Newbery Award–winning classic.

Russell (Murder Mysteries and Other Stories, 2015, etc.) pays no more attention than Lowry (Looking Back, 2016, etc.) did to continuity of detail or to justifying the counterintuitive notion that memories can be shed by transmitting them, but without taking significant liberties he skillfully captures the original’s full, creeping horror. By depicting human figures with uncommonly precise realism, bearing calm, smiling demeanors and moving through tidy 1950s style settings, he establishes an almost trite air of utopian normality at the outset…then proceeds to undermine it with disquieting (to say the least) incidents capped by an explicit view of Jonas’ serene dad “releasing” a supernumerary newborn by ramming a hypodermic into its head. He also neatly solves the color issue by composing his many small sequential scenes in blue pencil outlines with occasional pale washes—which makes Jonas’ disturbing ability to “see beyond,” from the red in an apple and a classmate’s hair to the garish orange memories the Giver downloads to his brain, startlingly vivid and presages the polychrome wilderness into which he ultimately vanishes. Jonas and the rest of the cast are uniformly light-skinned and generically European of feature, but that is explicitly established as part of the hideous scenario.

A first-rate visual reframing: sensitive, artistically brilliant, and as charged as its enigmatic predecessor with profound challenges to mind and heart. (interviews with the creators) (Graphic dystopian fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-544-15788-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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An interesting premise brought to life with engaging art.

A SPARROW'S ROAR

Two sisters battle for their homeland, which was founded by people who rejected the rule of a dishonest monarch.

Elena, the 18-year-old general of Esterpike, is renowned for her military achievements. Elena’s sister, Per, on the other hand, is mischievous; she forges Elena’s signature to request some of the best fireworks from one of the neighboring lands. When the fireworks arrive, Per ensures that Elena is indisposed for the evening so that she might enjoy the festivities disguised as her sister, whom she strongly resembles. Unfortunately for Per, Esterpike is attacked during the fireworks display. After the real Elena is killed in battle, Per, aided by Elena’s second-in-command, Amelia, pretends to be her sister and approaches the leaders of the neighboring lands in hopes that they might provide some aid for Esterpike. Instead, she uncovers a larger plot aimed at overthrowing Unity. Chua and Chikiamco’s stand-alone graphic fantasy, set in a quasi-medieval world, has strong female characters, the intrigue of subterfuge, and vibrant illustrations. The full-color art in bright jewel tones has a manga feel. However, the presence of doubles and sudden flashbacks can make the plot confusing; readers will undoubtedly benefit from reviewing certain sections. Most primary characters read white; there is diversity in skin tone in the supporting cast.

An interesting premise brought to life with engaging art. (Graphic fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68415-476-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: BOOM! Box

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2020

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Another fresh and funny outing in a mostly solid satiric series.

A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN

From the My Boyfriend Is a Monster series , Vol. 8

Proving that the power of teen love trumps even Heavenly directives, a budding graphic artist hooks up with an ethereally handsome new classmate.

Morning Glory’s miserable life at her clique-heavy high school takes a turn for the better with the arrival of hot, strangely naïve Gabriel DiAngelo. A supposedly chance meeting at the local thrift store escalates into movie dates and breathless snogging. Complications arise with the subsequent appearance of Gabriel’s catty but equally stunning relative Luci DiAngelo, who displays a gift for inciting divisiveness and violence. In the black-and-white art, Morning Glory—dark-skinned and serious-looking in rimless glasses—and Gabriel, with his manga-style features and artfully disheveled blond hair, make a cute couple. In the end, Luci is sent back where she came from. After a climactic revelation (“You had wings!” “Did not.” “Did too! What are you?” “Can’t you guess?”), Gabriel confesses that he’s a Guardian actually sent to help Morning Glory’s friend Julia through some family troubles, freshening up the now-tired guardian-angel-falls-in-love-with-human-ward trope considerably.

Another fresh and funny outing in a mostly solid satiric series. (Graphic paranormal romance. 12-14)

Pub Date: May 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4677-0732-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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