Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards. This one was fun for me for a few reasons. First off, it had a lot going on in a good way. Clem is the orphaned daughter of two archaeologists, only here the setting is a sort of extreme archaeology where drivers are given clues for treasure sites and then have to speed off in souped-up battle vehicles in order to be first to claim the prize. There are lots of competitors in interesting and deadly vehicles, and the event is cut-throat. For instance, there is one giant, armored battle wagon driven by large, sentient crocodiles. They are not to be taken lightly.
There was much I liked about this book. It has a simple, sturdy plot. The characters are types of a sort, but they are engaging and easy to root for or boo. Best of all, the world and character designs really shine in the artwork, which features top-notch storytelling. This book left me breathless with its action sequences. It's a vibrant and exciting read.
Clem Hetherington and the Ironwood Race was a collaboration between writer Jen Breach and artist Douglas Holgate. Breach has written a few comics and books, including the self-published Maralinga and Something's Amiss at the Zoo. Holgate is a frequent collaborator with Breach, and he has drawn a host of other comics and graphic novels, most notably the The Last Kids of Earth series.
All of the reviews I have read of this book have been positive. Kirkus Reviews summed it up as "Indiana Jones meets Mad Max in a
whirlwind as exciting for teens as it is for middle-grade readers." Elizabeth Bush called this book's premise "an action-lover's dream." Patrick Hayes wrote, "As soon as I was done, I wanted to read more."
Clem Hetherington and the Ironwood Race was published by Scholastic Graphix, and they offer a preview and more here. It is listed as a #1, so I hope we get to see more books in the series, though so far I have seen nothing solicited.
The publisher provided a review copy.