Castle in the Stars: The Space Race of 1869

Alex Alice. First Second, $19.99 (64p) ISBN 978-1-62672-493-8
Aether—the theoretical fifth element conceived of by Greek philosophers—is pursued by scientists and heads of state alike in this alternate historical adventure from this French graphic novelist. One year after Seraphin Dulac’s mother dies in a ballooning accident as she attempted to confirm the existence of aether, the boy and his father receive a mysterious note, summoning them to Bavaria from their home in northern France. Soon they are working for none other than the Bavarian king to create an aethership, but spies, sabotage, and threats of Prussian aggression threaten the project, as well as their lives. Despite unfolding over just three chapters, Alice’s story is dense with dialogue, information, and visual detail, playing fast and loose with science and history as Seraphin joins forces with a brave maid and a know-it-all adventurer to safeguard the project. Lushly painted scenes, an abundance of banter among the young heroes, and plenty of action and gadgetry make for an engrossing tale of discovery and betrayal, which builds to a cliffhanger ending to set up the second and final volume. Ages 10–14. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/24/2017
Release date: 09/12/2017
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 978-1-250-18757-4
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