Illustrated by Pablo Túnica
Aella is an adventure-loving girl stuck on a tiny island where nothing interesting ever happens. Her mother often leaves her behind to go on grand voyages, and Aella dreams of the day she can join her mother on one of her adventures. When a band of Knights comes to the island claiming to be seeking the destruction of demons, Aella's inner monster is awoken. She has the spirit of a fierce demon, Xir, inside of her, which has the destructive capabilities to wipe out life as they know it. Aella and a young knight steal away to find the seer who first told of Xir's rebirth, hoping there might be a way to expel the demon from Aella. But Aella isn't the only member of the family harboring a big secret - her mother turns out to be one of the most fearsome pirates on the known seas, and she's not giving up her powerful daughter so easily.
Aella's adventure is entertaining, and the reborn demon inside a person may have been done before, but this felt original enough to keep me going. The writer had me on the hook for the entire book as I didn't realize until I was done that it's a Book One. I was ready for a conclusion, but there was a swerve instead that didn't leave me dissatisfied, knowing there will be more to this story. This engaging story will most likely resonate with readers who enjoy stories with strong female protagonists, like The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig.
There were times where the art was a little too rough for my liking, but it was mostly due to the inconsistency with people's faces. It was harder for me to nail down who some of the characters were because their features kept changing, and if they changed clothes (or had their armor taken away), then it often seemed like an entirely different person. However, the illustrations that didn’t include people were incredible - beautifully colored and imaginative. The cityscapes and nature spreads were especially wonderful.
This is another of Skybound Comet's inaugural offerings, which is an imprint for Middle Grades. The publisher rates this as 12+, and there's certainly nothing in the first one that would make it inappropriate for middle grades. There is some fantasy violence, some implied death, and Aella bleeds on the page, but it's an inky substance owing to her being demon-infused.
Sara's Rating: 7/10
Suitability Level: Grades 6-10
This review was made possible with an advanced reader copy from the publisher.
Publisher: Skybound Comet
Publication Date: October 18, 2021
ISBN: 9781534321298 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 7/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Graphic Fiction, Action Adventure, Magic, Family, Skybound Comet
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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