A lively turn for a lesser-known comic-book hero.

ZATANNA AND THE HOUSE OF SECRETS

The magical DC hero makes her middle-grade graphic-novel debut.

Zatanna and her magician father, a widower, live quiet lives. The white preteen balances friendships and homework like any other typical middle schooler while missing her departed mother. But one night Zatanna sneaks out to a dance and returns to find a pair of blue-skinned strangers standing in her own home, a home that has transformed into the House of Secrets. After one of the home invaders identifies herself as the Witch Queen and disappears with Zatanna’s father, Zatanna searches for him and discovers the true nature of her family’s past. Mystery and magic fill the graphic novel’s frames as Zatanna’s large, expressive eyes soak in the bizarre and fantastic flourishes. Readers with minimal knowledge of Zatanna’s role in DC Comics lore will have no trouble here: The story is easily appreciated by newbies and familiars alike. The bold, unoutlined artwork uses a purple, orange, and blue palette that helps the pictures stand apart from the four-color comic palette used by similar middle-grade DC Comics titles. The plot moves forward at an almost alarming speed, twisting and turning and enticing readers with a page-turning emotional mystery.

A lively turn for a lesser-known comic-book hero. (Graphic fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4012-9070-2

Page Count: 152

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A fun, fantastical romp.

TIDESONG

A legacy of magic binds two aspiring hopefuls from different worlds together.

Inspired in part by East Asian cultures, this graphic novel’s prologue reveals that a dragon draws rebuke from her family when she leaves the sea to be with her love, a fisherman. Now known as the Wu clan, their descendants earn respect from the dragons when they combine their collective magic and repel a powerful hurricane the dragons sent to destroy the kingdom. From then on, the dragons promise to always answer the call of the Wu family. In the present day, 12-year-old Sophie Wu, an aspiring witch, is determined to perfect her spells for her audition to the Royal Magic Academy. She travels to stay with her young aunt, Sage, a recent Academy graduate, and her cantankerous great-aunt in Dragon Bay Harbor Town to learn from them. However, her great-aunt’s incessant negativity about her talents—which she hopes to disprove—and her own insecurities cause Sophie to lose control of a spell. A dragon named Lir becomes stuck in human form with no memories of what came before. A diplomatic conflict ensues that threatens the peace between dragons and humans unless Sophie and Lir are able to untangle their intertwined magic. Reminiscent of Kiki’s Delivery Service, the colorful panels are filled with movement, and the manga-style art pops. Characters have skin tones ranging from light to mid-brown and hair in varying shades of brown.

A fun, fantastical romp. (author’s note) (Graphic fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-295579-1

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Kibuishi gives his epic tale a hefty nudge toward its long-building climax while giving readers plenty of reasons to stick...

SUPERNOVA

From the Amulet series , Vol. 8

Stonekeeper Emily frees the elves from their monstrous masked ruler and sets out to rejoin her brother and mother in the series’ penultimate episode.

The multistranded storyline picks up with Emily’s return to the world of Alledia. Now a fiery, destructive phoenix struggling to regain control of her actions, Emily goes on to follow her brother Navin and allies as they battle invading shadows on the nearby world of Typhon, then switches back to human form for a climactic confrontation with the Elf King—in the course of which Emily rips off his mask to a chorus of “ERGH!! NO!!! GRAH! RRGH!! AAAGH!” to expose a rousingly hideous face. Cute animal heads on many figures (the result of a curse) and a scene with benevolent-looking trees provide at least a bit of relief from the grim expressions that all the human and humanoid elven characters almost invariably wear. But along with emphatic sound effects, the battle and action scenes in the cleanly drawn, if sometimes cramped, panels feature huge blasts of fire or energy, intricately detailed giant robots, weirdly eyeless monsters, and wild escapades aplenty to keep the pace’s pedal to the metal. Aliens and AIs in the cast come in a variety of hues, elves are a uniform gray, and except for a brief encounter between Emily and a slightly darker lad, the (uncursed) humans default to white.

Kibuishi gives his epic tale a hefty nudge toward its long-building climax while giving readers plenty of reasons to stick around for it. (Graphic fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-545-85002-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more