Author: Marjorie Liu
Illustrator: Teny Issakhanian
What's it about?
Zuli was raised in the branches of the Great Tree by legendary bird spirits. She's never left beyond her tree, that is until bird spirits stop making their way to the tree, preventing new birds from being reborn. Something's wrong no one knows what which is why Zuli, with he guardian owl Fowler embark of an adventures to save and protect the spirits of all the birds in the world. On her way to saving the world, she meets and even sometimes befriends a number of mythical creatures including dragons and griffon. But maybe, the most important discovery is who she really is.
Favorite Characters: Zuli. I think my affection for her has something to do with the fact that she reminds me of my daughter. They are both optimistic and kind. They've both got this unconditional love and respect for animals that is solid and really hard to make faulter (not that we'd want it to). They kind of radiate love and bring out the goodness of others just by being near them.
I also can't help but like Fowler. Maybe it's because he's an owl and I have a weakness for owls but there's also something about his somewhat trop-y sidekick personality that I find adorable, even if he's kind of judgy about others.
Least Favorite Characters: Maestra, even though he may not be the one I should think of first. I just disliked how cold he was. I get he's a leader and trying to protect his people but I still wanted to smack him.
I also, obviously disliked the Queen Witch. But, that's to be expected as she's the villain in this book.
Favorite Parts: I was in love at the very beginning when Zuli was in the tree. The characters are loving and whimsical but the art work is breathtaking.
I also enjoyed the interactions between our clan of heroes and the dragon. I don't know that I can pinpoint it, but it just made my heart happy. There was something witty, warm, and affectionate about it, almost like like the tough, stern leader who softens for that one or two people for no discernable reason.
Least Favorite Part: Ok, let me prerequisite this with the fact that I absolutely love and am so indescribably thankful for ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies). I literally do happy dances when they arrive. With that being said, my least favorite thing about this book is that the ARC copy wasn't a finished copy, so I got to revel in the beauty of this beautiful world for 28 pages and then my copy goes to black and white (the finished copies are totally in color all the way through. Sometimes getting advanced copies mean not finished copies) and I loved the finished/colored illustrations so much, I was sad to have to leave them behind.
Favorite Quotes: "We are all born at a crossroads, with many paths before us. And always there is a choice. We can choose to kneel down or stand. We can choose to hide, or fight." (pg. 81)
Magic is like the wind...except this wind can change the world. Magic can make stones float and metal catch fire. Magic is as rare as a phoenix feather, but just as dangerous and beautiful. (pg. 63)
This is the first graphic novel I delved into for me (if you ignore the fact that I was also evaluating it to decide if I wanted it in my store) and it did not disappoint. A side from the beautiful illustrations, I was drawn in my a magical story with a diverse cast, and further excited by the number of conversations it has the potential to open up, such as prejudices and death just to name a few.
All in all, I I really enjoyed this story and am excited to see where it goes from here. I'd happily share a finished copy with my own kiddos and I think they'll love it! It's a must have for animal (real and fantasy alike) lovers who enjoy graphic novels.
I give this book a
10 guardian owls
But that's just what I thought. What did you think? Did you love the color scheme or hate the illustrations? Are you excited to see what comes next, or are you content with walking away entirely? Let us know below!