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Queen of the Sea

illus. by Dylan Meconis. 400p. Candlewick. Jun. 2019. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781536204988.
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RedReviewStarGr 5–9—A young orphan named Margaret lives on an island convent, cared for by adoring nuns. The arrival of two strangers changes her life forever. The first is a young boy, who eventually is compelled to return to the land of Albion. Years later, Margaret finds herself in the company of the dethroned and exiled Queen Eleanor of Albion. And when one of Eleanor's former subjects arrives with news from Albion, Margaret finds herself at the center of a conflict that may change the fate of the kingdom. In this tale loosely based on the early years of Elizabeth I, Meconis skillfully balances imaginative twists with factual evidence. At several points, Margaret interrupts the narrative to offer historical context about Albion or information on the nuns' rituals, immersing readers in the drama in spite of the occasionally heavy backstory. The art, reminiscent of Raina Telgemeier's style, creates levity during perilous situations. The book is dense with dialogue, often feeling more like a work of prose than a graphic novel. As a result, this complex work will be more accessible to those familiar with graphic novels; some younger fans may struggle to follow along.
VERDICT Certain to charm sophisticated graphic novel devotees.–Matisse Mozer, Los Angeles Public Library

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