Modo: Ember’s End

Arthur Slade, illus. by Chrstopher Steininger. Orca, $14.95 trade paper (88p) ISBN 978-1-4598-1721-0
Slade brings back the central characters from 2009’s The Hunchback Assignments and its sequels in this action-packed graphic novel. Shape-shifting spy Modo and his partner, Octavia Milkweed, stumble into the strange town of Ember’s End (where, among other oddities, guns don’t work) in a steampunk version of 1885 Nevada. After being deputized by the local bartender/judge/undertaker, the two are soon fighting a ninja and a nearly indestructible cowboy named Ogden Bull, who is after a “magnificent device” created by the town’s founder, Ebenezer Ember, the source of the unusual inventions that make Ember’s End a town like no other. Steininger’s stylized, angular illustrations bring a cinematic energy to this Wild West fantasy. Octavia’s wisecracks and hard-edged attitude steal the show, and Slade and Steininger balance exposition with fun, sometimes slapstick action sequences when the deputies clash with Ogden and his henchmen. Readers familiar with Slade’s previous novels may appreciate this spinoff best, but prior knowledge of Octavia and Modo isn’t necessary to enjoy their sparring, verbal and otherwise. Ages 9–12. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/11/2017
Release date: 02/01/2018
Genre: Children's
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