Kriss: The Gift of Wrath

Oni. Sept. 2019. 120p. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781620106617.
Gr 9 Up–A young orphan, Kriss, was taken captive from Darkovia by soldiers and left to survive in Varne. Anja is Kriss’s only friend, and both of them care for each other deeply. Kriss’s town becomes terrorized by a ravenous, mystical beast that is on the hunt for blood. As Kriss hunts the beast down to avenge the death of Anja’s mother, he learns that the creature comes from Darkovia. This beast gives Kriss the power of wrath; with wrath comes superhuman strength, but this ability is difficult to summon. As Kriss harnesses his power, the beast encourages him to pursue his destiny—to go back to Darkovia and become king. Kriss decides to stay in the village to protect Anja but learns that destiny cannot be ignored. This moody, gritty graphic novel is easy to follow. Speech bubbles are well placed, even when multiple characters are speaking at once. Kriss becomes more likable as the story progresses, and he attempts to do what he believes is right even though things don’t seem to go his way. Secondary characters such as Anja, her family, and Kriss’s adopted family further the plot. There are several instances of drinking, violence (including bloody scenes), and profanity.
VERDICT A dark, violent fantasy recommended for those who enjoy coming-of-age stories and adventure.

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