Book 1: The Flight of the Prince, illustrated by Michael Dialynas
Wynd is trying to be the typical boy in Pipetown - one of the last human settlements that has strict laws against anything magical or with “weirdblood.” Meanwhile, the king is on his deathbed, daily making his son promise to uphold the Blood Laws that have kept the humans of Pipetown safe from magical infection. The prince decides this isn’t the way he wants to rule, and he sneaks out in the middle of the night to find his uncle, The Duke, who has a much nicer outlook on magical folk. The king calls back his best enforcer, The Bandaged Man, to root out any other weirdbloods, and, of course, Wynd catches his attention. Wynd's adoptive mother plans the Prince's escape out of Pipetown in exchange for bringing Wynd to safety, but the plan doesn't go quite as expected. Wynd, his adoptive sister Oakley, Prince Yorik, and Yorik's trusted friend Thorn try to escape the pursuit of the King's Men, and begin to see the world maybe isn't what they thought it was.
Within the first ten pages, I knew I was going to absolutely love this book. I even thought to myself, “see, THAT’S how you do character development!” and had to tweet it out to the author and illustrator. It was so easy to fall in love with Wynd, Oakley, and Thorn (who looks very akin to Kronk from The Emperor's New Groove), and even stubborn Prince Yorik has a piece of my heart. The world Tynion IV has built is so interesting and full of, most likely, ghastly secrets that I'm sure our main characters will have to learn and reconcile with their preconceived notions. I appreciated how Tynion IV, like he does with The Backstagers, seamlessly integrates some gay crushes as a purely normal part of the world. Oakley never has to give a show of support for Wynd crushing on a boy, indicating normalcy for his orientation. I am exceedingly interested to meet The Duke and to see how being out in "The Wild" has affected him, and to continue on this journey with these four great characters.
This book is exceptionally beautiful with wonderfully illustrated characters and some fabulous coloring. Characters are drawn so expressively that every panel has so much meaning and detail in it. Dialynas is a genius of color and perspective. There are some full-page spreads overlooking the city from atop a hill, or this 2 page spread of the Four Winds, that are just breathtaking and make me want to jump into the page and explore this world with Wynd, Oakley, Thorn, and even Yorik.
There is a little bit of violence, and you do see a few characters be stabbed and killed on the page, so this is best set for middle school or higher. Wynd's adoptive mother also runs a tavern, so mugs of beer served and consumed on page.
Sara's Rating: 10/10
Suitability Level: Grades 7-12
Tags: Rating: 10/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Comicbooks, Graphic Literature, Fantasy, Magic, Family, Action Adventure, LGBTQ+
Tag note: Wynd was originally published in single-issue format (albeit, 50-page single-issues), so it is tagged as Comicbooks, but bound together it looks and feels more like a graphic novel, so I have also tagged it Graphic Literature (especially as a consideration for shelving purposes).
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