Lily the Thief. tr. from Finnish

First Second. Nov. 2019. 288p. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781250196972.
Gr 5-8–Novice thief Lily may be a reckless smart-mouth, but she knows how to get the job done. Unfortunately, the Guildmaster of Thieves doesn’t agree and assigns Lily only the dullest of tasks. After pilfering a plum assignment to prove her worth, Lily sets off to steal a royal relic from Earl Enard’s castle. But the earl catches her and forces her to help him unlock a mysterious cavern vault. Stealing the required keys will put our intrepid thief on a collision course with a nefarious cult, the Brotherhood of the Fire. Lily’s success may save her skin but doom the world. Originally published in Finland, this medieval adventure is gripping, though some readers will see the ending coming. Action and intrigue abound as Lily leaps and skulks across a variety of different sized panels that deftly move the story along. Realistic use of shading and light within the earth-tone palette, coupled with bold lettering, results in an immersive visual experience. Despite a sluggish start, meticulous world-building paired with thrilling escapades will make readers crave future volumes. However, depictions of stabbing, sword fights, and deaths, along with some inappropriate language and sexual content (the members of the guild chuckle over Lily’s bosom, or lack thereof), are at odds with the gentle tone of the artwork.
VERDICT Collections willing to overlook the title’s mature themes will find this an engaging, humorous adventure that doesn’t skimp on conflict.

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