Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Book Spotlight: Knife's Edge by Hope Larson Illustrated by Rebecca Mock...Review

Today I am so excited to tell you all about a graphic novel series that I have had the privilege to read.  To be completely honest with you, I really haven't read a lot of graphic novels, but the last few that I have read have been so good.  I become lost in the stories and illustrations and find myself reading the books in one sitting and craving more.  And so then I reread and discover things I must have missed previously in the drawings and dialogue.  And this series is just one of those I love.

Anyway, let's get to the books.  I know, the Spotlight book is Knife’s Edge written by Hope Larson and illustrated by Rebecca Mock, but I can't really talk about it without first sharing some brief thoughts on the first book, Compass South.  So…
In Compass South, we are introduced to Cleopatra and Alexander, twelve-year-old twins just trying to survive after their father left home and never returned in the mid-1800s.  After becoming targets of their old gang, they see an ad in a newspaper and decide to head to San Francisco to start a new life by scamming a man looking for his twin sons.  Before they can implement their plan they meet another set of twins with similar ideas and chaos ensues. The sets of twins become separated and spend much of the book apart aboard various ships, with Cleo pretending to be a boy and each one with one of the other twins.  The story alternates between Alex’s and Cleo’s point of view. Each twin also has a family heirloom with them, a knife and a pocket watch. Overall, the story is filled with adventure, a bit of romance, as well as twists and turns I didn't see coming….and a cliffhanger ending.  Also, each illustration fit the story perfectly and helped progress the plot.  I loved this first installment. I found it to be fun, fascinating, and original.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

Now let's talk about Knife’s Edge.
Twelve-year-old twin adventurers Cleopatra and Alexandra Dodge are reunited with their father and realize that two family heirlooms reveal the location of a treasure that is their birthright. When they set sail with Captain Tarboro on the Almira, they know they’re heading into danger—the ocean is filled with new and old enemies, including their nemesis, the infamous pirate Felix Worley. But like a coral reef that lurks below the surface of the waves, trouble is brewing between the siblings. Alex is determined to become a sailor and is happy with his role aboard the Almira, but Cleo—the only girl on the ship—is tired of washing dishes in the galley. In an effort to find her own purpose, she begins studying sword fighting with Tarboro, but neither Alex nor her father approves. Can the twins remain close as they pursue different goals and dreams, or will their growing differences tear the family apart before the treasure can be found?

In this follow-up to the New York Times bestselling Compass South, Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock once again create an outstanding seafaring adventure.

Hope Larson adapted and illustrated A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel, for which she won an Eisner Award. She is also the author and illustrator of Salamander DreamGray HorsesChiggers, and Mercury. She lives in Los Angeles.

Rebecca Mock is an illustrator and comics artist. Her work has appeared  in various publications, including the New York Times and the New Yorker.  She is co-organizer of the Hana Doki Kira anthology. Compass South is  her first book.

Knife’s Edge picks up exactly where Compass South ends I can't elaborate too much on that because it will spoil the first book.  However, if you read the synopsis, you know the twins have been reunited with each other as well as their father.  They have also found themselves working for familiar face.

As the twins try to figure out their purpose is aboard the ship, they suffer a few ups and down in their relationship.  Alex wants to be a Captain someday so their new Captain, Tarboro, has him working his way up from the bottom by swabbing the deck. But Cleo wants to be more than just a dishwasher in the kitchen so she gets the Tarboro to teach her to sword fight. Neither her father nor Alex like this idea and it really puts a strain on the siblings’ relationship with Alex believing he should be the protector.  This an interesting look at gender roles in the mid-1800s and even now.  It shows how far we’ve come and how far we still need to go.  (Side note: I kept forgetting these kids were just twelve years old)

In addition to Alex and Cleo, we are introduced to or get to know many of the secondary characters much better in this book.  We learn what motivates them and what led them the where they are now.  I loved the use of flashbacks and storytelling that the writer and illustrator used to convey the differences between who these characters were versus what they have become.  They did this in the first book, Compass South, as well.

The illustration for the book was once again awesome. Each panel or illustration fit perfectly with the dialogue or story and helped with the progression of the plot.  Nothing seemed out of place nor did I feel disappointed by the quality.  

I loved Compass South and definitely recommend you read it before this Knife’s Edge (I read them back to back so it was like one long story). We learn so much more in this book and many questions from the first book are answered. And I wish there were more to come because I still have a couple  questions.
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

So what are some of your favorite graphic novels?

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