From the Publisher
"The plot may be familiar, but the social customs of each group are defined so precisely that every detail feels strange and surprising." Kirkus
"This is a strong choice for sci-fi graphic novel collections, especially those seeking representation in genre fiction." School Library Journal
"This title has crossover appeal for dystopian buffs, sci-fi fans, for those who simply like the format, and for romance readers as well, since the love between Colleen and the man who finally thawed her frozen heart is gripping stuff." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Perfect for fans of dystopian sci-fi and books with strong female leads." Booklist
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—A tale of love, loss, loyalty, and resilience set in a high-tech world of poverty and oppression. On Colleen's planet, humans are exploited by an alien race called the Derichets. Strong young male humans are sent to work in the mines, while females and older males work in a production facility to extract Kallium, an energy source for Derichet weaponry. Meanwhile, factions of violent gangs struggle for turf and resources. Colleen, the daughter of a formerly wealthy and powerful family, has been reduced to working in one of the Derichet-run production plants. She continues to live on her deteriorating estate and tries to remain unnoticed, but her life changes when she unexpectedly reunites with her niece and meets a gang member who captures her heart. The Derichets have large noses or pointed ears, often with markings on their bodies. The humans are fairly diverse, with different skin tones and eye colors represented. Ostertag's art supports Shinn's storytelling beautifully. The muted hues of the art set the tone of despair and are punctuated with red panels that accentuate the violence of Colleen's world. Librarians should note that there is an intimate scene that contains brief nudity. VERDICT This is a strong choice for sci-fi graphic novel collections, especially those seeking representation in genre fiction, and an excellent option for more mature fans of Star Wars or Mad Max.—Jodeana Kruse, R.A. Long High School, Longview, WA
An alien invasion tends to put things in perspective in Shinn's (Gateway, 2009, etc.) graphic-novel debut. When Colleen tries to warn her niece Lucy about the dangers of strange men, Lucy shrugs it off. "Everything is dangerous," she says. That might be the theme of this graphic novel. The most dangerous men in it turn out to be Colleen's suitors. After the pointy-eared Derichet invaders conquered her world about a decade ago, more than one of them has tried to woo Colleen. She's more interested in Jann, a Chromatti warrior who's part of the resistance. But: "Don't let [Lucy] go near the Chromatti," Jann says. "It's dangerous." Colleen is a Cavenaugh, one of the Great Families of Comstock City, while the Chromatti are from the mining underclass; although the former class orders have been upended by the Derichet occupation, tensions still exist. One of the joys of the novel is seeing people from different parts of society, with no reason to trust each other, join together to fight a revolution. Socialites and factory workers and warriors all unite against the Derichet. The plot may be familiar, but the social customs of each group are defined so precisely that every detail feels strange and surprising. It's also refreshing to see so many different races and so many shades of brown on each page. In her print debut, Ostertag (creator of the webcomic Strong Female Protagonist) provides clean, well-paced panels in which Colleen's skin is a deep walnut color while Lucy's is the color of pale hickory. Jann is the shade of cherry wood. The book may be a little too detailed. There are a lot of characters and history to keep track of, but Shinn's fans won't mind reading the story over and over again until they've learned every facet.