By Jo Rioux
A foundling was born in the Land of Monsters and brought to the Valley of Galatea by a fire-breathing dragon, or so the story goes. Suri’s claim is the stuff of which legends are made. But as an orphan, she tags along with a group of traveling merchants and pays her way by telling monster stories for money. Her dream to be a monster tamer plunges her deeply into a fantastical world of mythical creatures and a ball of golden twine. When she uses the twine as a chain for a dragon tooth amulet, which she purchased from a peddler, she unexpectedly starts to find her “great power.” She taps into this power to defend herself from a group of shape-shifting monsters that are desperate to recover the magical golden twine for themselves.
This is a reprint of the same story that was published in 2012. Scenes were added that were left out of the original edition. The artwork has been completely redrawn and recolored. Terracotta and black Prismacolor pencil lines add warmth and structure. The color palette of blue, green, gold, and crimson is rich and applied digitally with textural effects. Shadow and light are used to create both spooky nighttime and soft daytime scenes. The pages are designed to engage the reader with full page panels and a mix of irregular panel layouts. Special effects sounds are experienced through capitalized text and directional lines. Rioux masterfully uses perspective to give the reader a cinematic experience with eye level, worm’s eye, and bird’s eye views of the expressive characters and thrilling action. The back matter is placed after the cliffhanger ending and a full page panel announcing the next book in the series. It includes excerpts from Suri’s journal that provides amusing facts about the magical creatures and menacing monsters she encounters in her journey.
VERDICT A fantasy graphic novel that provides young readers with quick scares and a fast-moving storyline.