Monday, July 10, 2017

Knife's Edge

I have been looking very forward to this sequel to Compass South, and boy did it not disappoint. That first book in the Four Points series was one of the best reviewed books of the past year, receiving lots of accolades for its fine story and art, and I daresay that this book is even better. After reuniting with their father, twins Cleo and Alex are faced with many quandaries. They learn more about their mother, why they were abandoned, and how they ended up in their current predicament, but at the same time they face more mysteries and unanswered questions. The plotting of these stories is so complex and well thought out, and I love how approachable and natural the whole narrative still seems.
In addition to the many revelations, there are also a few new characters and locales introduced, but none of it seems forced or rushed. There is a sizable amount of exposition, but it is adeptly worked into the story, not seeming like a slog to read or rote information to note. Part of why all these features are the case is the exceptional artwork that brings out strong characterizations as well as expertly imparting verve into every scene. Cleo especially seems to spring from the pages as a fully realized character, full of nuance and affect. I loved this book, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good swashbuckling tale that is full of heart and human moments. I sure hope that this book is not the final installment in this series, because it left me yearning for more.

This book is a fantastic collaboration between writer Hope Larson and artist Rebecca Mock. The Eisner Award winning Larson has created a number of graphic novels, including an adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time and the young adult story Chiggers. She is also writing two comic book series, one about a teen detective Goldie Vance and the other a run on DC Comics' Batgirl. In addition to the Four Points books, Mock was a co-organizer of  the Hana Doki Kira anthology. You can read more about their collective work on this book, in this interview with Larson and this one with Mock.

All of the reviews I have read about this book have been full of praise. Kirkus Reviews wrote, "As in its predecessor, every question answered leads the twins to more questions to be asked, and it ends with a breath-catching cliffhanger." Oliver Sava was impressed by Mock's "talent for expressive, engaging characters and crisp movement." Tamara Saarinen called it "a fast-paced, absorbing tale."

Knife's Edge was published by Farrar Straus and Giroux, and they have a preview and more info available here.

I saw the artist Rebecca Mock at HeroesCon this year, and she was so kind to sign my copy of this book. Thank you!

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