Castle in the Stars: The Space Race of 1869 by Alex Alice

Paperback, 64 pages
Published September 12th 2017 by First Second
Source: Raincoast Books

I do not know much about European history but I dare say you do not need to when reading Castle in the Stars: The Space Race of 1869. The first volume in what I believe is a series puts forward the question of space travel and what would happen if it was possible to travel in space earlier than history says it was.

To that end, the protagonist’s mother, a Claire Dulac, pilots a hot air balloon up into the heavens to search for a material called aether which can function as what we know as rocket fuel. Unfortunately things go wrong and she goes missing. Seraphin’s sure his mother is alive but his dad doesn’t hold much hope. Seraphin’s father is a highly sought engineer and a few years later, he is commanded to appear before someone should he want his wife’s diary and presumably last words. Seraphin’s dad is not at all inclined to follow the terse orders but Seraphin is adamant–what if this is a clue of his mother’s whereabouts?

At the train station, they are attacked by suspicious German-speaking people and in their efforts to get away from them, Seraphin and his father end up heeding the mysterious orders and find themselves at a king’s castle. The king is determined to make his way to the stars and he engages Seraphin’s dad’s services to make that into a possibility–aether has been discovered, you see.

The first volume describe’s Seraphin’s adventures as he helps his dad and makes new friends and uncovers a conspiracy that will lead to a rebellion and possible assassination. The art is beautiful and the story compelling. If you are into steampunk and history, you will enjoy this slim volume immensely. The book is more prose-heavy than other comics but I reckon the balance is just right. I have shared a few panels below to give you an idea of the art.

I quite enjoyed this volume and am looking forward to the next–it ends on an infernal cliffhanger…literally. Hah. Recommended.

The Sand Warrior (5 Worlds #1) by Mark Siegel, Alexis Siegel, Xanthe Bouma (Illustrations), Matt Rockefeller (Illustrations), Boya Sun (Illustrations)

The Sand Warrior (5 Worlds #1) by Mark Siegel, Alexis Siegel, Xanthe Bouma (Illustrations), Matt Rockefeller (Illustrations), Boya Sun (Illustrations)

Hardcover, 248 pages Published May 2nd 2017 by Random House Books for Young Readers Source: Publisher This is going to be an extremely short review. Seriously: A sudden rebellion destructs the relative peace holding together the worlds and invites chaos to reign supreme. Only a not very good sanddancer and her two sidekicks, one of them […]

Mighty Jack and the Goblin King (Mighty Jack #2) by Ben Hatke

Mighty Jack and the Goblin King (Mighty Jack #2) by Ben Hatke

Paperback Expected publication: September 5th 2017 by First Second Source: Publisher Mighty Jack and the Goblin King is the very exciting follow up to last year’s Mighty Jack which introduced us to Jack, his sister, Maddy, and his neighbour, Lilly. The story picks up where it left off with Maddy kidnapped by an ogre and Lilly and Jack […]

Shade, the Changing Girl, Volume 1: Earth Girl Made Easy (Shade, the Changing Girl #1) by Cecil Castellucci (Writer), Marley Zarcone (Artist)

Shade, the Changing Girl, Volume 1: Earth Girl Made Easy (Shade, the Changing Girl #1) by Cecil Castellucci (Writer), Marley Zarcone (Artist)

Paperback, Trade, 144 pages Published July 4th 2017 by DC Comics Source: Publisher In the first volume of Shade the Changing Girl by Cecil Castellucci et al, the reader is introduced to a story that is both bizarre and familiar. The protagonist of the piece, in actuality, is a bird-shaped alien who lives on a planet many light miles […]

Review: Goldie Vance

Review: Goldie Vance

Sixteen-year-old Marigold “Goldie” Vance has an insatiable curiosity. She lives at a Florida resort with her dad, who manages the place, and it’s her dream to one day become the hotel’s in-house detective. When Walter, the current detective, encounters a case he can’t crack, together they utilize her smarts, skills and connections to solve the […]

Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 (Wires and Nerve #1) by Marissa Meyer, Douglas Holgate (Illustrations)

Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 (Wires and Nerve #1) by Marissa Meyer, Douglas Holgate (Illustrations)

Hardcover, 240 pages Published January 31st 2017 by Feiwel & Friends Source: Raincoast Books Wires and Nerve takes up the reins of the story where the short story (as collected in Stars Above) leaves off. I am assuming you have read the entire Lunar Chronicle series before you start reading this review because otherwise be […]

Real Friends by Shannon Hale, LeUyen Pham (Illustrations)

Real Friends by Shannon Hale, LeUyen Pham (Illustrations)

Hardcover, 224 pages Expected publication: May 2nd 2017 by First Second Source: Raincoast Books Real Friends is an autobiographical account of Hale’s childhood and friendship woes. The graphic novel concerns itself with the sticky relationships between an elementary aged Hale and the girls she wanted to call friends. She finds herself at the edges of […]