Death & Sparkles (Death & Sparkles #1)

Rob Justus. Chronicle, $22.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-79720-636-3
Sparkles the last unicorn, a few hundred–year–old, cupcake-loving celebrity known for his magical candy and rainbows and “SUPER expensive merchandise,” dies in a poorly executed stunt. While falling to his doom, Sparkles meets Death, a purple-cloaked skeleton working “in the claims department,” before waking up in limbo faced with the fact that he’s wasted his life and is thus unworthy of the “giant cupcake” unless he changes his ways. Sparkles then resurrects, with his horn impaling Death’s derriere, and the two slowly become friends. After Death accidentally kills a whole village celebrating Sparkles’s revival, the unicorn is quickly lampooned and derided by all his former fans. Soon, the duo is coerced into a live broadcast of three challenges to “decide who is worthy of our adoration and hard-earned consumer dollars,” up against Sparkle’s greedy manager and his new clients, an intergalactic group of skateboarding lizards whose true mission is to save Earth from climate change. Digital illustrations rendered in assured lines and sweet pastels work in tandem with the simple, fantastical aesthetic. If the story line feels a bit overstuffed, Justus offers a humorous yet clear-eyed exploration of mercurial public opinion, capitalism, and consumerism in this entertaining series opener. Ages 10–up. Agent: Steven Salpeter, Curtis Brown. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 09/29/2021
Release date: 09/01/2021
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 368 pages - 978-1-7972-0635-6
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