Spera

Josh Tierney, Author, Kyla Vanderklugt, Illustrator, Hwei Lin Lim, Illustrator, Emily Carroll, Illustrator, Olivier Pichard, Illustrator, Afu Chan, Illustrator
Josh Tierney, Emily Carroll, Afu Chan, and various. Archaia Entertainment (www.archaia.com), $19.95 (176p) ISBN 978-1-936393-30-5
Reviewed on: 02/06/2012
Release date: 01/01/2012
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The journey is the point in Tierney’s clever, evocative cycle of fantasy tales, and readers won’t much care if the characters ever get anywhere at all. At the start of this collection—each of the four chapters and the shorter tales bundled at the back is drawn by a different, equally gifted artist—a pair of young misfit princesses go on the wander with a wise old gaffer who can also shape-shift into a giant, fire-tinged wolf. The gaffer, Yonder, serves as a guide of sorts to the boyish, action-craving, and sword-wielding Pira and the dream-clouded bookworm Lono as they amble from one adventure to the next on their way to the magic land of Spera. Adventuring “wasn’t much of a choice,” says Pira. “Princesses aren’t really in demand here.” Some shreds of a story flit about in the first pages—Hamletesque palace intrigue and a looming war—but Tierney’s story is bonded tightly to the intimate interplay of these three characters (as well as Chobo, the chubby, eye-patched piratical cat who joins them along the way) as they journey epic distances and battle monsters like proper heroes. With beauty as its tool and mischief in mind, this book is a winner all the way. (Jan.)
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