Swan Lake: Quest for the Kingdoms

HarperAlley. Mar. 2022. 256p. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9780062941480; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9780062941466.
Gr 4-8–One of the most popular ballets of all time gets an epic graphic novel retelling. The kingdoms of Bloom and Rotbart have been on the brink of war for ages thanks to a curse cast upon Princess Odette, which causes her to transform into a swan every morning and back into a girl at nightfall. She lives an overprotected life in her castle until she flies off in a fit of rage one day to weep alone on the lake. Here she’s discovered by Princess Dillie (Odile), the swashbuckling, mohawked heiress to the Rotbart throne. The two become fast friends, Odette explaining the nature of her curse and Dillie sharing how she lost her leg, which is now outfitted with a prosthetic. The friends are nearly driven apart by the allegation that Dillie’s father cursed Odette. Believing that that isn’t true, Dillie and Odette set off on a quest to reverse the curse and clear King Rotbart’s name. There are deadly challenges, new friends (Prince Fred, of the Montrose Kingdom, and his bear pal Benno), and plenty of swordplay and ballet along the way. The true highlight of the story is the beautiful, supportive bond among the children. Odette and Dillie, who appear to be white, are honest, kind heroes, while Fred, who has a darker complexion, is brave and clever. The bold, expressive artwork is lively and enchanting, and the ending leaves space for a sequel and some possible queer romance.
VERDICT Readers who love high-stakes quests will fly through this one. A recommended first purchase.

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