Black Canary: Breaking Silence

Random. (DC Icons). Dec. 2020. 352p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593178317.
Gr 6 Up–In the not-so-distant future, Gotham City has been taken over by the dictatorial Court of Owls, the wealthy and powerful elite who put an end to all superheroes and released a poison gas that damaged women’s vocal chords so they could no longer sing. Dinah Laurel Lance swears that as a child mourning the loss of her mother, she heard what should have been impossible: the sound of a woman singing. Teenage Dinah’s interest in music lands her in trouble with the Court, leading to her father, Detective Larry Lance, to make a deal with them to protect her. However, his protection may be futile, as the arrival of the billionaire orphan Oliver Queen draws Dinah into further dealings with the Court while a visit from a friend of Dinah’s mother simultaneously draws her further into the Resistance. In the latest of the “DC Icons” series, Monir’s future Gotham City reflects the real restrictions placed upon women in some places in the world today: They cannot play sports, drive, or hold certain jobs, among other restrictions. Dinah’s superhero origin is about discovering that her own voice is her superpower, literally and figuratively. Much of the story’s conflict involves Dinah’s interactions with the men in her life and how much or little she can trust them. Her relationship with her supportive yet protective father is the real heart of the novel.
VERDICT Monir deftly balances familiarity for DC fans and accessibility for new readers, blending superhero origin with coming-of-age tale in an excellent book for fans of comics and dystopian fiction, as well as reluctant readers.

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