cover image Pandemonium


Chris Wooding and Cassandra Diaz. Scholastic/Graphix, $22.99 (160p) ISBN 978-0-545-25221-8

Seifer Tombchewer is a star athlete in the boonies of the Darkling Realm, a kingdom of winged people ruled by the powerful Pandemonium clan. He’s longing for a life outside his tiny village tucked away in the mountains when he is pulled into the royal family’s intrigues, in this graphic novel by young adult novelist Wooding (Malice). The crown prince, Talon, has disappeared, and Seifer happens to be a dead ringer for him. Now it’s up to Seifer to learn to act like Prince Talon well enough to fool those closest to him and win a war. Wooding and Diaz admirably build a complex world and appealing characters. Spots of slapstick and whimsy, like a giant cat that repeatedly tries to eat Seifer, lighten a story that has war and sacrifice at its core. In his journey from smalltown jock to hero of the people, Seifer makes discoveries about himself, his family, and the royal family. Diaz’s manga-inspired art matches all the moods and loose ends that will leave readers asking for a sequel to this inventive and intriguing fantasy. Ages 8–up. (Feb.)