cover image Rise of the Halfling King (Tales of the Feathered Serpent #1)

Rise of the Halfling King (Tales of the Feathered Serpent #1)

David Bowles, illus. by Charlene Bowles. Cinco Puntos, $12.95 paper (64p) ISBN 978-1-947627-37-6

This first in a series of full-color graphic novels draws from the author’s 2018 work for older readers, Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky. Apprentice witch Almah must complete her training by meeting the Aluxes, “mystic elfin beings who wield great magic to protect nature.” She is given two items: a magical stone and a drum that will “announce the rightful king of Uxmal,” which hasn’t had one in a century. Years later, under the rule of cruel King Kinich Kak Ek, who outlaws witches, lonely Almah finds an egg that hatches a boy, whom she adopts as her grandson. But half-human, half-Alux Sayam is different from other humans, and his first battle, against a giant snake attacking a nearby city, garners the king’s attention. When the kingmaker drum is struck, a prophecy is set in motion: whoever bests the king at three impossible tasks will succeed him. Armed with magical knowledge from Almah, a mind for reading ancient spells, and his spider monkey best friend, Sayam challenges the monarch. Expressive, boldly lined art complements simple storytelling, resulting in a respectful, engaging interpretation of ancient Mesoamerican folklore accessible for younger readers. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–13. [em]Agents: Taylor Martindale Kean and Stefanie Sanchez Von Borstel, Full Circle Literary. (Oct.) [/em]