ICv2 Stars: 3.5 (out of 5)
Posted by Nick Smith on August 8, 2016 @ 2:06 am CT
Publisher: Super Genius/Papercutz
Release Date: November 15, 2016
Creator: Jessica Abel
Format: 64 pgs., Full-Color, 8.5"x11, Hardcover
Age Rating: Teen+
ICv2 Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5
Papercutz is launching a new imprint, for material aimed at YA readers, and this is an interesting choice for that new imprint. Jessica Abel also steps outside her usual realism for this science fictional tale.
Even though the intended audience is different, this work may suffer in comparison to Roller Girl. While the artwork is excellent and the writing very interesting, the central character comes across as derivative of our first view of Luke Skywalker in A New Hope, a slightly whiny dreamer on a desert world. Unfortunately, in this first book of a planned series, she doesn't improve a lot. She works her way into difficulties and seems very self-centered, even while criticizing others for that same flaw. Her journey may lead her to being a better person, but personal growth is not visible here.
The story takes place on a barely-terraformed Mars, and the very high-tech version of roller derby seemed forced. The central character's sudden interaction with a native Martian is initially a jarring interruption, even if it will lead to a plot line later.
Still, there's a lot of potential here. Nice world-building, an interesting setting, good art, and interesting support characters are all strong points for the book. If the other characters don't throttle her, the main character may grow up into a decent human being over the course of the series.
The story will be readable by teens and adults.
--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.
ICv2 Stars: 4 (Out of 5)
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