Monsters Beware by Rafael Rosado and Jorge Aguirre, 170 pp, RL 4
Monsters Beware! by Rafael Rosado and Jorge Aguirre is the third graphic novel in this brilliant series that features the fearless, feisty, defender of Mont Petit Pierre, Claudette. I reviewed Giants Beware! back in 2012 and, while I didn't review it here, I read Dragons Beware!, which came out in 2015. With their series, Rosado and Aguirre have created a fully realized world that, while filled with danger, is also filled with love and friendship.
Claudette comes from a family of fighters. Her father, the blacksmith Augustine, lost his legs and an arm to a dragon and her mother was lost entirely in battle. However, her stubble-headed little brother Gaston has developed a talent for confections and magic while Marie, the daughter of the Marquis, is about to be sent off to finishing school just as the Marquis has triumphantly managed to bring the Warrior Games back to the village. Both magic and Claudette have been banned from the games, but of course she finds a way to play. Unfortunately, she has to promise to give up being a warrior for good. And wear a dress.
With his daughter now participating and his father, the evil Wizard Grombach who is trapped in amber thanks to a spell, on a pedestal in the village's victory garden serving as a pièce de résistance, the Marquis has some tame events in mind. From competitive butter churning and sculpting to truffle hunting, Claudette grows despondent at the lack of adventure, despite the fact that Marie and Gaston prove to be fierce competition in these areas. Meanwhile, the trios of kid competitors from across the land are going missing, with Thunk, Mia and Ria, the children of the Duchess from the Sea Kingdom, starting to look very suspicious.
Claudette is so distracted by the uneventful events of the Warrior Games that she doesn't even notice the machinations of the Duchess and her spawn as the work to free the evil Wizard Grombach and rule the land and sea. How their plan comes crashing down and the many surprises revealed in Monsters Beware! make it my favorite of the three graphic novels. And, while Rosado and Aguirre bring maximum imagination and adventure to Monsters Beware!, it also feels like they bring a sense of closure. Perhaps this series is indeed a trilogy, but I hope it is not the last we see of Claudette, Gaston and Marie!
Source: Review Copy