Tuesday, July 4, 2017


Hello everyone,
Happy 4th of July!

Today, I am going to be review Knife's Edge by Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock, the sequel to Compass South. The Four Points duology is a middle grade graphic novel featuring twins, pirates, buried treasure, and swashbuckling adventures all over the world!


I do have to put a disclaimer that if you have not read Compass South, there will be unavoidable spoilers for it below as I share my thoughts about Knife's Edge. Read at your own risk!


Genre: Graphic Novel
Release Date: June 27, 2017 (out now!)
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Four Points #2
Twelve-year-old twin adventurers Cleopatra and Alexandra Dodge are reunited with their father and realize that two family heirlooms reveal the location of a treasure that is their birthright. When they set sail with Captain Tarboro on the Almira, they know they’re heading into danger—the ocean is filled with new and old enemies, including their nemesis, the infamous pirate Felix Worley. But like a coral reef that lurks below the surface of the waves, trouble is brewing between the siblings. Alex is determined to become a sailor and is happy with his role aboard the Almira, but Cleo—the only girl on the ship—is tired of washing dishes in the galley. In an effort to find her own purpose, she begins studying sword fighting with Tarboro, but neither Alex nor her father approves. Can the twins remain close as they pursue different goals and dreams, or will their growing differences tear the family apart before the treasure can be found?

In this follow-up to the New York Times bestselling Compass South, Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock once again create an outstanding seafaring adventure.


First thing, Knife's Edge is a direct sequel to Compass South. You do have to read Compass South first before picking this book up, or else you're going to be confused and will miss out on knowing how twins Alex and Cleo got to where they are at the beginning of Knife's Edge.

In Compass South, orphaned twins Alex and Cleo got separated in New Orleans and had to somehow find their way back to each other again in San Francisco. After them is the infamous pirate Captain Felix Worley, because unbeknownst to the twins they each carry with them an old compass and knife that together will point to where a treasure is buried.

The story continues in Knife's Edge, where not only were Alex and Cleo reunited with each other, but also their father who was actually imprisoned by Worley but had escaped during the battle between the Anita (the ship Alex was on) and Worley's ship, the El Caleuche. With the help of Captain Tarboro, the twins set sail on the Almira for the Marshall Islands where the treasure was supposedly buried. However, Worley, who had lost one of his legs in the battle but was nonetheless hot on their heels knowing the twins will led him right to the treasure.

Alex and Cleo were mostly separated in Compass South, now they are sailing together on the Almira and there's friction between them, as well as friction between Cleo and their father. Alex pretty much figured out that he wanted to captain in own ship in the future, but Cleo isn't so sure what she wants to do. The story is set during the 1860s and Cleo realized that she doesn't really has a lot of choices being a girl. However, having been out on her own adventure and survived many dangers, Cleo is no longer satisfied being the sort of female that stays home and makes tea and relies on the men to save her. I enjoyed Cleo's story arch where we see her figure things out and showing the men that she is more than capable of taking care of herself.

Sailing through the dangerous ocean and with Worley quickly gaining in on them, the action never stops. I did have to suspend my disbelief quite a bit as there were some pretty big deux ex machina moments. As in the previous books, the twins do quite a bit of traveling and here they visit several islands in the Pacific. Do not go into this series thinking you'll learn something about the different places they travel to. Accurate portrayal of these places and the people that live there are disregarded in favor of plot, which didn't bother me because I was reading these books for the pirate adventure rather than for historical accuracy. We also learn some back story about the twins' father, their birth mother, and about Worley's past. 

Since Knife's Edge is the second book in the series, I was familiar with the art and color style going in. However, I do have to mention that while the story drew me in right away when I first picked up Compass South, it did take me a while to get into the art style. The colors used were perfect (lots of browns, orange, yellows, and blues) and on point for the historical, open seas and pirates feel of the novels. But, the art itself I had to get used to. Based on the epic covers of the two books, I guess I was expecting the insides to be sort of in the style of the Amulet series, but once I shifted my expectations (which only took a couple of chapters) the art is actually quite perfect for the overall feel of story and I can't imagine Alex and Cleo's story being visually told any other way. 

I am giving Knife's Edge (and, really, the entire duology)
I loved both Compass South and Knife's Edge--maybe Compass South slightly more than Knife's Edge. This is mostly because I loved Silas and Edwin in Compass South and was kinda sad they weren't in Knife's Edge--I was still shipping Cleo with Silas (Luther can take a hike!). I read both books back to back as one continuous novel and it was wonderful! I loved the ALL characters, even the pirate baddies. While I did have to suspend my disbelief and had to ignore all the factual inaccuracies in favor to further the plot, the non-stop action and adventure made this entire series an exhilarating read. Thinking of my fourth and fifth grade students, I know they'll really enjoy Alex and Cleo's adventures too, and I would add this duology to my library's graphic novel collection. 


About the Author & Illustrator
 

Hope Larson adapted and illustrated A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel, for which she won an Eisner Award. She is also the author and illustrator of Salamander Dream, Gray Horses, Chiggers, and Mercury. She lives in Los Angeles. hopelarson.com

Rebecca Mock is an illustrator and comics artist. Her work has appeared in various publications, including the New York Times and the New Yorker. She is co-organizer of the Hana Doki Kira anthology. Compass South is her first book. rebeccamock.com

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Happy reading,
Michelle

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