Lion Forge. Sept. 2019. 256p. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781549304811.
Gr 6 Up–In the magical land of Hyalin, the spirits speak their magic to witches, and the longer a witch’s hair is, the more magic she can access. Those with the longest hair, seen as the mightiest mages, may well become heroes in the Hyalin Guard—or be burned to death, lest they use their powers against the kingdom. Teenager Nyneve Ahmadzai, the daughter of a mage who was burned, has hidden her long hair and her tremendous, unwieldy magic her whole life. After the final test of her adolescence, she will see move onto a career serving the kingdom in any number of professions or be conscripted to fight for the Guard, if not burned. When Nyneve fails to hide her powers, she must escape Hyalin, embarking on a journey that will uncover secrets beyond her wildest dreams. This collection covers the first four chapters of Ries’s ongoing fantasy webcomic. The artwork is reminiscent of the TV series Avatar:The Last Airbender, both in style and depth of world-building. Ries captures the nuanced, awkward expressions of her characters, as well as high-octane action that seems straight out of the pages of Shonen Jump magazine. Because the webcomic is still ongoing, this tale does not follow a traditional three-act structure or come close to resolving its conflicts by the conclusion. The result is an oddly paced graphic novel with plenty of setup; one imagines the subsequent volumes will provide narrative payoff.
VERDICT A worthy addition to libraries where the series “Cucumber Quest” or Avatar: The Last Airbender are popular.

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