Swords and trolls,
This review is from: Foiled (Paperback)
Aliera Carstairs is just a normal girl, with a penchant for fencing, reading and RPG games.
With a combination like that, it's almost inevitable that she would stumble across some supernatural adventures. Jane Yolen and Mike Cavallaro do a solid job with "Foiled," a graphic novel with a feisty heroine and some clever plot twists, but be warned -- this is only the first part, not a complete story.
Two important things happen in Aliera's life -- a new boy named Avery Castle arrives at school, and her mother buys her a secondhand practice foil with a fake ruby glued to the hilt. Avery and Aliera are assigned each other as lab partners, and Avery turns out to be charming, creepy and very odd. He also seems very interested in Aliera and her sword.
And when he inevitably asks her out, Aliera agrees to meet him at a train station -- but soon encounters a strange-looking woman and a seemingly hostile bird. And soon she discovers that she's enmeshed in a world where nothing is as it seems... including Avery.
I'm not sure whether "Foiled" is destined to have a sequel, or whether the entire story is about Aliera discovering the magical world that most people can't see. It's obvious there's more to her story, and I can only hope that Yolen and Cavallaro show us more of Aliera's adventures with her bejewelled sword.
The story is kind of slow-moving, but Yolen's strong writing keeps it balanced. Her prose is snappy and witty ("...showing a piece of his anatomy that looked remarkably like the frog after we were halfway through skinning him"), and she puts in some wonderfully creepy atmosphere whenever Avery starts being... freaky ("I like cutting... dead things").
The best part of this story: Aliera. She's no Bella Swan -- she's a strong, feisty heroine who has a passionate attachment to fencing and a fiercely individualistic spirit, but she also has her fair share of insecurities. And she doesn't take any garbage from others, even from the guy she was crushing on.
Cavallaro also has some solid artwork -- thick lines, sharp contrasts, and some splashes of action and adventure (including fencing practice!). And since Aliera is colorblind, most of the book is rendered in black, white and grey... which makes it all the more shocking when we see the faeries, which are splashed with bright, vibrant colors.
"Foiled" is a clever, imaginative little story that meshes together magic and swords -- and hopefully, this isn't the end of Aliera's story.