March 19, 2018

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The Fall of the House of West by Paul Pope & JT Petty | SLJ Review

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redstarPope, Paul & JT Petty. The Fall of the House of West. illus. by David Rubín. 160p. (Battling Boy: Bk. 2). ebook available. First Second. 2015. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781626720107.The Fall of the House of West by Paul Pope & JT Petty

Gr 7 Up –Determined to find her mother’s killer, Aurora West, daughter of hero Haggard West, has finally started to patrol the monster-infested streets on her own, despite the protests of her father and her mentor. While the first volume, The Rise of Aurora West (2014), in the prequel series to Pope’s Battling Boy (2013, both First Second), was disappointingly more setup and character backstory than action, this volume instantly makes up for lost time. This installment is filled with numerous traps, shoot-outs, and interrogations. However, the book’s greatest strength is in the moments between the chaos, as characters are wonderfully fleshed out. As characters slowly reveal their secrets, readers discover, along with Aurora, that the heroes she has always looked up to are cracked and bruised. Rubín’s Robert Crumb–inspired artwork is a wonderful throwback to the Silver Age of Comics (1956 to circa 1970). Villains are grotesque and cartoonish, while the heroes have chiseled jaws and perfect posture. The illustrator’s choices perfectly echo the themes throughout the narrative. Diagonal gutters and Batman-style sound effects not only add to the nostalgic feel but expertly move the action forward; readers will be flipping through the pages as fast as the bullets flying over Aurora’s head. VERDICT The strongest series entry so far—one helluva read.–Peter Blenski, Greenfield Public Library, WI

This review was published in the School Library Journal December 2015 issue.