Vol 1: Bright World
Amparo is a teen prankster, desperately trying to impress the super-smart Iolanthe, but succeeding in only stressing out their mother and abuela. When a talking cat comes to Amparo's bedroom, Amparo becomes convinced that the magical cat can grant them their wish: to be a better person Unfortunately, the magical cat is a better trickster than Amparo, and steals their name and identity. The former Amparo is doomed to Bright World, a vibrant, terrifying land squished in between the mortal world and what lies beyond. Fierce creatures feed on humans and use memories as currency, and it's all former-Amparo can do to survive! They become an indentured servant to cafe owner, Mimi, who dubs them "Paola," but Paola soon finds a new master - El Ciervo, a creepy "doctor" who specializes in performing medical procedures on humans. Now "Fawn," Amparo must fight their way out of Bright World and back to their life before they become a demon only worthy of Bright World.
Bright World is so imaginative and deeply developed through this story, and the summaries only scratch the surface of what's in this volume. Stanley's vibrant colors make this book a wonder to behold. There are a few instances of narrative hiccups where transitions could have been smoother, and I didn't care as much for the two tandem storylines of Bright World and the Mortal Realm happening on the same page, but it was a different way to show progression in each realm. This small choice only slightly detracted from my overall enjoyment of this story. There is also some beautiful representation in this story. Bright World is a beautiful, boldly colored world with heavy Latin folkloric influences. There are several panels of dialogue entirely in Spanish. Fawn/Paola/Amparo is nonbinary, and the topic comes up a few times throughout the story.
There is some mild language - some of it is censored, and other times, when Amparo/Paola/Fawn gets really upset, it's not.
Sara's Rating: 9/10
Suitability Level: Grades 9-12
Tags: Rating: 9/10, Suitability: High School, Graphic Literature, Fantasy, LGBTQ+, Folklore, Romance, CSLA 2021
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