5 Worlds: The Cobalt Prince, Book 2 by Mark Siegel, Alexis Siegel, Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller and Boya Sun, 245 pp, RL 4
Last year saw the debut of 5 Worlds: The Sand Warrior, an incredible graphic novel with five creators! The 5 Worlds series is written by brothers Mark Siegel (author and editorial director of the best publisher of graphic novels, :01 Books) and Alexis Siegel and illustrated by Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller and Boya Sun. The Sand Warrior introduced readers to Oona Lee, a student of Sand Dancing on the planet of Mon Domani, one of five planets that are in danger of extinction. Oona's big sister, Jessa, was the best Sand Dancer the planet had known before she disappeared. Clumsy and seemingly untalented, Oona proves as gifted as her sister and lights the long-dark Beacon on the planet, an act that many believe will save the 5 Worlds. This act sends Oona fleeing and finding friends in An Tzu, an urchin from the slums suffering from a mysterious illness, and Jax Amboy, a superstar at the much-loved interplanetary game, Starball. With clues from Jax's uncle Jep, they head out to Toki, the Cobalt Kingdom.
The Cobalt Prince reveals secrets about Oona and Jessa and their origins that lead to a dramatic climax on Toki. But before that, Oona, Jax and An Tzu make a dramatic escape from what they think is an enemy starship and Jax is lost while saving his friends. Stranded on the planet Salassandra, Oona and An Tzu discover a sacred oil being burned by a religious group that proves to be a living entity that is drawn to Oona. This cute, green, Flubber-ish blob proves a loyal friend and lifesaver as Oona finds herself face to face with the Cobalt Prince and his armies. With The Cobalt Prince, the authors and illustrators move this exciting story forward while also delivering a satisfying, self-contained story. As before, the illustrations are absolutely, gorgeously, excitingly magical. The palettes are rich but muted pastels with bright pops. I am especially excited to see the art for the third book, The Red Maze, that should bring new colors to the worlds. The final acknowledgement in a long list (there are 5 creators, after all) reads, "And for lighting the way to beloved new worlds: Ursula K. Le Guin, Hayao Miyzaki, Neil Gaiman." Marvelous influences, all three, and evident in the pages of this stunning series.