Quill Tree/HarperCollins/. Mar. 2022. 336p. Tr $21.99. ISBN 9780062945853; pap. $14.99. ISBN 9780062945846.
Gr 7 Up–In a Middle Eastern fantasy setting, this is the story of a young Ornu girl growing up in the Bayt-Sajii Empire. Aiza and her family are forced to live in a community for the marginalized Ornu people, which provides them safety within the Empire but not much more. She dreams of leaving her small farming community to become a hero, and when an opportunity arises to join the army in hopes of becoming a squire (and eventually a knight, which would grant her citizenship), she is eager to serve the Empire. Yet almost immediately, she begins to question the history being taught to the new recruits: that the Empire is at war only because other nations refuse to return to the golden age, when all nations flourished as one. Over time, Aiza learns what it truly means to be a hero and the ways in which historical narratives are used to manipulate people. Alfageeh’s artwork is stunning, with inspiration taken from Middle Eastern countries, specifically Turkey and Jordan. The recruits train in a place reminiscent of Petra, with buildings carved into red-toned cliffs, and Aiza and the majority of characters are depicted in various tones of brown skin and hair. Extensive author and artist notes on the process of creating the book are included.
VERDICT An action-packed graphic novel in a beautifully depicted world, sure to inspire and engage young audiences.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing