Saturday, November 28, 2020

Fantastic Tales of Nothing

Green, Alejandra and Rodriguez, Fanny. Fantastic Tales of Nothing 
November 17th 2020 by Katherine Tegen Books 
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Nathan is a thief who suddenly finds himself in the woods. He ends up being saved by an individual he calls Haven, who speaks a language he does not. He thinks she might be one of the Volken; his world is divided into Humans and Volken. They manage to defeat robbers and end up joining Sina and Bardou, and head to the Capital. They talk about Lerina, who had brought peace to their world until she died. Nathan has some magical powers, which are forbidden in the Empire. When the group falls in with Ren, the spymaster for the Imperial family and Noaki, the son of the Chancellor of the Volken, they find out that Nathan is the Chosen One, and the group has quest-like adventures in order to save the kingdom. 

Wow. Clearly, my fantasy amnesia COMBINED with my trouble reading graphic novels did not end well. Let's go with the official description:

In the first book of this full-color fantasy graphic novel series filled with humor and hijinks, the fate of the land of Nothing hinges on Nathan and an unlikely team of magical beings to save the day—perfect for fans of Amulet and Estranged.

Welcome to Nothing! Despite its name, this is a fantastic land where humans and magical volken coexist peacefully—at least they try . . .

This is the tale of Nathan, an ordinary human (or so he thinks) living an ordinary life (or so he wishes). Everything changes when he meets Haven, a mysterious creature who is neither human nor volken. Oh, and the two of them are being chased by volken mercenaries—a grumpy wolf named Bardou and a delightful crow named Sina.

Nathan soon learns he has mysterious powers, even though humans aren’t supposed to have magic. But there’s no time to dwell on that because this discovery sets the group on a perilous quest across windswept terrain, through haunted forests, and in ancient tombs. Nathan and his unlikely friends must prevent an impending war and defeat a dark evil to save their land.

No pressure, of course. If they fail, everything will turn into, well . . . nothing.

Strengths: The illustrations are great, the story fast paced, and the characters innovative and engaging. There is a lot going on in the story, and so many interesting sub plots. I imagine that this could easily be a series. 
Weaknesses: This had a standard, Anglo-Germanic/Tolkienesque medieval feel to it, and I have a lot of those books. I've been so spoiled by the Rick Riordan Presents fantasies with other cultural connections that I was a little disappointed. 
What I really think: This has a Nimona or Estranged vibe to it, and my students are not big fans of either of those. I will pass, but libraries who have graphic novel fans who also like fantasy will definitely want to invest in this one. 

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