Illustrated by Gaia Cardinali
Jordan River is sort of enjoying a day at the museum with his family - mom, dad, and two younger twin brothers. The parents ask Jordan repeatedly with helping out and making sure the twins are occupied. When he slips away to find a moment for himself, he wanders into a fantasy kingdom and finds a prince and his knight beset by wolves. Despite never having held a sword before, Jordan picks one up from a fallen knight and protects the prince, who seems to have just performed magic. Back at the palace, Jordan discovers magic is forbidden, but his bravery has earned him one favor from the Queen. He asks to be trained as a knight, as he has no interest in returning home. There is more in this kingdom’s past that Jordan wants to help discover, especially once the Oracle tells him he will be instrumental in saving it.
Coming out of the gate, this was a pretty strong story with a compelling beginning. Where it lost me was Jordan asking to be trained as a knight instead of asking the queen for a way home. He’s way too calm about the transported to another world bit, even if his little brothers are that annoying. That easy-going attitude is consistent throughout, as he seems completely unfazed by magic monsters and endangering his life over and over for a kingdom he just found. The budding romantic relationship between Jordan and the prince was a little predictable and treated a bit like an afterthought. Overall, there wasn't enough time devoted to a lot of portions of this story -- this easily could have been several volumes, but instead it was all smooshed together and everything happened very quickly.
The art, however, is very beautiful and colored gorgeously. The Cardinali really captured this magical, fantasy world, especially in her full-page splashes with imaginative settings and beautiful magic-casting sequences.
Sara's Rating: 6/10
Suitability Level: Grades 7-12
This review was made possible with an advanced reader copy from the publisher through Net Galley.
Publisher: Mad Cave
Publication Date: August 30, 2022
ISBN: 9781952303258 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 6/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Graphic Fiction, Fantasy, LGBTQ+, Magic, Romance
I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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