Tuesday, August 27, 2013
by Chris Wooding and Cassandra Diaz
Seifer Tombchewer is a darkling: a flying being that loves skullball (think flying soccer but more violent), likes his family alright, but sometimes wonders if there is more beyond his little village. Reading books is frowned upon by his father who loves sports, but it's how Seifer satisfies his curiosity. Dreaming of more, he practices his skullball skills, and visits his grandpa to read some more books.
Then one day he wakes up in a palace with a splitting headache. Abducted by spies, he is the spitting image of Prince Talon of the Pandemonium tribe, who is missing. There to replace Talon, Seifer must learn how to act princely enough to fool not just the prince's family and allies, but also his enemies. The hardest one to fool: Talon's huge cat who tries to swallow Seifer every time they meet.
Thrust into the middle of intrigue, Seifer must figure out who to trust, make new friends, and also discover his hidden enemies. Responsible for the safety of the kingdom, he needs to figure out how to win the wars they are already fighting without plunging them into more. And above all, no one can know who he really is. Driven by his own moral compass, which Talon apparently never had, Seifer must become a prince to save the realm.
I really enjoyed this book! It reminds me of some of the anime series, without being horribly dark or sickeningly cute. It has some great humor, but balances it with serious thought. Think Avatar: The Last Airbender, but abducted devil prince. Kind of similar types of humor. While Seifer always means well, sometimes his methods infuriate those around him and even seem unconventional, but are strangely effective.
Again, the writer and artist have worked together really well to obtain a great balance of story telling through art versus text. The art often makes me laugh, but also reveals a lot of how the characters are feeling. Some of the symbolism in the art is perfectly done, and I just loved it.
Overall, I enjoyed the artwork/text balance, the humor was great, the story line was really good, and the characters are believable. Seifer is often doing things that I can see someone doing in a similar situation. There are strange moments of humor throughout the book (like the prince's parents dying while working on a goat cannon). Boys would get a kick out of it, but girls will love it too. Read it!