The Scarlet Rose Vol. 1: I Knew I'd Meet You GN
Publisher: Papercutz/Charmz
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Price: $9.99 (TP) / $14.99 (HC)
Creator: Patricia Lyfoung
Format: 96 pgs., Full-Color, 6"x9", Trade Paperback/Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-6299-1826-6 (TP) / 978-1-6299-1827-3 (HC)
Age Rating: 10+
ICv2 Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

This is the first translation of a substantial [12 volume] graphic series from France.  As part of the launch of the new Charmz imprint, the intention was to produce material suitable for tween/young teen girls, and this book will probably be successful for that audience.  The central character is an older teen, but that is not uncommon.  Young readers tend to want to read about characters their own age or older, rather than younger.

The series, first created over a decade ago, owes a lot to manga for its artistic influences, but the rich range of colors gives it strong appeal, especially in terms of presenting a period costumed adventure.

The central character, a girl who has been taught swordsmanship by her father, becomes fascinated with a local highwayman who apparently robs from the rich to give to the poor.  Never mind how the poor explain paying their debts with stolen heirlooms, his heart is in the right place, and her heart wants to follow his.  In this initial adventure, she tries out a plan to also ride the highways, thinly disguised.  Danger, adventure and lots of swordplay ensue.  Even the highwayman tries to discourage her, to little avail.

There are plot holes, and the artwork is sometimes just too darned cute for words, but the book will still appeal to most of the target audience.  Plus, the series aspect means that the creator will have room to develop an elaborate story, if she can explain how the main character survives that long.

Suitable for ages 10+.  Lots of violence, but only minor stab wounds ever bleed in this story, so very little gore.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.