Savage Beard of She Dwarf

Oni. Aug. 2020. 144p. pap. $19.99. ISBN 9781620107386.
Gr 9 Up–In this fantasy webcomic–turned–graphic novel, She Dwarf fears she may be the last dwarf left in the world and sets out to discover the fate of her people by searching for the lost dwarven kingdom of Dammerung. She fights for herself and the little guy, uses her beard to wrestle with a barbarian warrior, and takes on dragons, shorcs (shark-orcs, naturally), and a cyclops with bears for arms. She makes friends along the way, like any good adventurer, and loves to take extravagant scented baths. The story is light and amusing, but She Dwarf faces many challenges in pursuit of her dream and knows she risks heartbreak at the end of her journey. The characters are eccentric and expressive, positively exuding camaraderie and determination. In addition to the magnificently bearded She Dwarf, many characters defy traditional gender roles and appearances. The monsters are wildly inventive and unsettling, leaping off the page in brightly hued explosions. Abrupt, vivid color shifts are the hallmark of the graphic novel, but at times the excess of colors makes the action difficult to decipher. Creatively positioned, detailed panels and speech bubbles move the action along at breakneck speed, so much so that the pacing often seems rushed, which adds to the colorful confusion.
VERDICT Fans of fast-paced fantasy adventure, strong-minded heroines, and dynamic flashy art will enjoy this story of humor and heart, unlikely companions, and belonging.

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