Wednesday, March 28, 2012
A graphic novel (aimed at YA audiences) by Jane Yolen, Foiled's protagonist is a teenaged fencer, Aliera Carstairs, who's brilliant on the piste but doesn't fit in with any of the cliques at school. Her only close relationships are with her mother (who's bought her a new foil at a yard sale, with a tacky fake gem hot-glued to it), and with her wheelchair-bound cousin and fellow gamer, Caroline -- until the gorgeous new boy at school, Avery, becomes her lab partner ...
This is not a paranormal romance.
True, Aliera has a bit of a crush on Avery: his sense of humour's dark and witty, like hers. But she's too focussed on fencing -- on guarding her heart -- to pay much attention to Avery's weird turns of phrase or his dislike of enclosed spaces.
Then Aliera dons her fencing mask whilst passing through Grand Central Station -- and the world is transformed. (So is Avery.) Aliera quickly learns about her mask and her foil and her fate; all will be revealed in a second volume, which I'll look out for.
This is not just a story with illustrations: words and art work together (within the framework of a fencing match, from Engagement to Disengagement) to make something that's more than the sum of its parts. I don't read a lot of graphic novels, so the twist in Foiled surprised and pleased me: maybe it's a clichéd technique, but it's effective.