Freya is an overly-emotional (re: crybaby) country girl living in Tyr, trying to get by and get enough food for her sick mother. A visit from her adopted older brothers, who are both knights serving the Prince, leaves Freya worried about Sigurd, the neighboring kingdom, invading. When she overhears of a Sigurdian plot to kill her older "brother," Freya rushes to the palace to warn them. Here, she learns the true reason her knights came to visit - the prince is dying from Sigurdian poison, and Freya resembles the prince almost identically! She agrees to take on the persona of the prince, but how can she hope to embody a confident, cunning prince when she can't stop crying?
Illustrated by Ian Bertram, colored by Matt Hollingsworth
Little Bird's village comes under attack from the American Empire, but her mom has a great plan: squirrel her away until the violence is over, then set her on freeing a great warrior named Axe. Axe will save the people, and save the North, aka Canada, the last bastion of resistance against the Empire. Little Bird's family lineage is not what she was originally led to believe, and the Bishop who's coming after her now has more secrets than all of them combined.
Illustrated by Michael Sloan
In the Fall of 2016, the Aldabaan family receives word that they have been approved to travel from Jordan to the United States. Brothers Ibrahim and Issa are able to emigrate with their families, but they are leaving behind their mother and another brother and family. This is after they have all fled war-torn Syria. The eldest son, Naji, can't wait for the family to start their new lives in the United States, but the political climate has Ibrahim and his wife, Adeebah, unsure of what they're going in to. Once in Connecticut, they receive help from IRIS, a refugee resettlement agency, and told that they need to become self-sufficient within four months. The whole family adjusts to oddities of America, such as basements and Life Alert. Naji and his sister, Amal, start school and are treated as outcasts. The family constantly wonders if they've really left behind the worse life.
We begin with the conclusion of Iku's parents visiting, in which Iku finds an advocate in an unlikely place. Next, we are introduced to Marie, a young woman who has a condition that is destroying her hearing. She is friends and neighbors with Instructor Komaki, and he always finds the right book to recommend to her. In her latest visit, Komaki recommends a book with a heroine suffering from the same condition. Bystanders at Marie's school report Komaki because they think he is cruel for giving her a book that focuses on her deafness, and officials forcibly remove Komaki for questioning and investigating into the alleged "abuse" of a disabled person. Of course, Iku can't wait for the rest of the squad to come up with the plan to save Komaki, so she puts things in motion for herself. In the Bonus manga of this volume, there is a story of a Publisher Party where the Library forces are providing security. Iku ruins her clothes, so she has to borrow a dress and get all dolled up, and she doesn't understand why all the men are hitting on her!
Illustrated by Alexis Vitrebert
This story of Versailles is told from the perspective of Henri de Nolhac, son of Pierre de Nolhac, who came to be a steward of the palace during the Third French Republic. This is not Versailles during the time of kings and queens. This is Versailles as it was just beginning to be appreciated as an historical masterpiece, and thanks in large part to the dedication of Pierre. But, the demands of restoring the palace took a toll on the family life of Pierre, which is also included in great detail. This story also includes how Versailles morphed during the Great War, changing from a monument to a refuge for wounded soldiers and a place of gathering for Christmas celebrations and the like. Extensive end-notes provide more historical context for the de Nolhac family and the source materials for the creative team.
At the beginning of this novel, we get the resolution of the big reveal from the previous volume, where Ed, Alphonse, and Mustang all become privy to just how far the reach of the homunculi is within Amestris. The rest of the novel is a major flashback to the Ishvalan Civil War. We know from previous volumes how the war started, but until this point, we have only been privy to snippets as characters try not to remember the slaughter they took part of. Hawkeye, never one to shield Edward or treat him like a kid, is finally the one to educate him on the horror of what they were asked to do as part of the military. We also learn a vital piece of Colonel Mustang's past, and it further explains the dynamic between Hawkeye and Mustang.
Kiku is a high schooler on vacation with her mother in San Francisco, trying to find their family home in Japantown, when she gets swept back in time to her grandmother's violin recital. She travels back and forth a few more times before she is sent back to 1942, right as her grandmother's family is being shipped out to an incarceration camp. She is "stuck" in the past for a year, living in the camps alongside other Nikkei and her grandmother, who she doesn't have the courage to speak to. Back in the present, Kiku and her mother decide to research more of the family's history and the history of the Topaz, Utah camp, and to become activists against the camps at the U.S. Border for Latinx immigrants.
The Museum of Information is closing because it’s founder passed away. In his will, he left a treasure trove of documents, records, and books to the Library. The MBC can’t raid personal libraries, but now that it’s in the hands of the Library, they are free to go after it! Iku has been “benched” and is attending the funeral as the Director’s body guard, all because she has yet to tell her parents she’s a combatant, and this fight will surely be televised. Meanwhile, Tezuka and Instructor Dojo are on the front lines moving C-trains full of information from the Museum to the Library while MBC soldiers close in.
Iku learns to work in the Reservations room, securing books from other branches and finding titles in the Stacks to send to other branches. The Interim Head librarian acts suspicious with Iku's roommate, Asako, asking for specific titles and then squirreling them away in his office. Iku’s squadmate, Tezuka, asks her out even though he has continuously made her feel like he hates her, but this makes Iku confirm her feelings for Dojo. The MBC conducts a raid on the Library, seeking to take out titles they disapprove of. It's Iku's first MBC raid while she's is on duty, she and Asako figured out that the MBC was going after all the books in the head librarian's office.
This story is based on the concept of Library Intellectual Freedom, which governs a library's freedom to purchase all kinds of books without subject to censorship, and what happens if that is challenged by authorities to be taken out of circulation. The concept is sort of like Fahrenheit 451, but with people fighting back at the onset instead of letting society decide to take the books. On the two sides of this fight are the Library Defense Force (LDF), a militaristic entity tasked with protecting the books from the Media Betterment Committee (MBC), who wants to remove books that will ultimately harm society. Iku Kasahara, a trainee and later Page for the LDF, is a cute and inept main character, bad at everything except physical feats. Her instructor, Dojo, is angry almost all the time, but shows soft spots every once in a while to Kasahara.
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