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Jane Yolen – Foiled

July 28, 2010

83. Foiled by Jane Yolen, Mike Cavallaro (2010)

Length: 160 pages

Genre: Graphic Novel, Young Adult, Fantasy

Started / Finished: 13 July 2010

Where did it come from? The library.

Why do I have it? Saw it mentioned in an Unshelved Book Club comic.

Usually a
fencing mask obscures your sight,
but not in this case.

Summary: Aliera is a nationally-ranked fencer, but between school and fencing practice, she doesn’t have a lot of time for a social life, other than weekly role-playing game sessions with her disabled cousin. Her fencing coach has always told her to “protect her heart,” advice that’s she may be following a little too well… until she meets Avery. He’s a new transfer to her school, and he’s almost too good to be true. Attractive and charming, he’s the object of desire of every girl in school – and he’s interested in Aliera. However, on their first date, Aliera puts on her fencing mask, and can suddenly see that there is an entire world of strange creatures hidden from normal view, and that no one – including herself – is quite who they had seemed to be.

Review: Foiled is the first in a planned two-book graphic novel series from Jane Yolen, and it’s a brilliant and engaging start. I’m a little burnt out on fairies at the moment – I’ve read a lot of Faerie books over the past year, and the fey were never my favorite supernatural creatures anyways – but Foiled had me totally captivated, and I’m eager to see where the story goes next, and how all of the issues Yolen sets up here eventually pan out. I was actually a little disappointed to hear that this is only planned to be a two-book series; I think there’s enough potential here to provide the meat for a longer and more robust series. I’d certainly read it.

Aliera’s a believable teenager but also a highly relatable narrator. Fencing is woven throughout the plot as a supporting structure (each of the chapters, for example, are titled with the name of a fencing move that follows the structure of the bout and obliquely describes the action of the chapter), although it’s described well enough that readers who have never picked up a fencing foil will be able to follow along just fine. The art was similarly spectacular: Carvallaro’s drawings are clear and detailed, the panelling and flow are creatively done, and the contrasting use of graytones and colors is both extremely clever and occasionally totally gorgeous. Overall, I thought Foiled was clever, sharp, and attractive to read, with an interesting story that’s left me anxious for the sequel to be published. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Definitely recommended for fans of YA fantasy, particularly urban fantasy, and for graphic novel fans who are interested in a creative and fun use of the medium.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Links: Jane Yolen’s website

Other Reviews: YA Book Nerd
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: I want to tell you this story.

Cover Thoughts: Love. The fact that Aliera’s in grey with the rest of the cover in color didn’t initially grab me, but makes so much sense now that I’ve read it. Plus, the title and two of the little stars in her eye are shiny, and we know how I feel about that.

© 2010 Fyrefly’s Book Blog. All Rights Reserved. If you’re reading this on a site other than Fyrefly’s Book Blog, be aware that this post has been stolen and is being used without permission.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. July 28, 2010 10:38 am

    I’ve been meaning to read Jane Yolen, and I’m happy to see that her work is so good. I’m not much of a fan of the fey myself, but I might give this shot after I’ve started reading Yolen.

    • August 3, 2010 9:39 am

      Omni – I don’t think I’ve ever actually read one of Yolen’s books. I have at least one on the TBR pile, and I’ve read her short stories in a few anthologies, but not yet one of her books.

  2. July 28, 2010 12:53 pm

    Sounds fantastic! It’s been a long time since I read any Jane Yolen, but I always enjoyed her writing.

    • August 3, 2010 9:39 am

      TexasRed – Any of her books in particular that you’d recommend?

  3. July 28, 2010 6:55 pm

    I didn’t know Jane Yolen was writing graphic novels these days. Hooray for her! I like a lot of her books, so I’d like to give this a go.

    • August 3, 2010 9:40 am

      Jenny – This is her first graphic novel, I believe, so you’re not too behind the times. :)

  4. July 29, 2010 10:21 am

    I love Yolen and had no idea she was doing a graphic novel! Thanks for this review, Fyrefly! I hope my library has it.

  5. July 29, 2010 12:32 pm

    I’ve loved Yolen’s THE DEVIL’S ARITHMETIC since grade school. I’ll have to check this out. You make it sound delightful.

    • August 3, 2010 9:40 am

      Jessica – Delightful is a good word for it. I’ll have to see if I can lay hands on a copy of The Devil’s Arithmetic!

  6. July 29, 2010 3:14 pm

    I’m glad to hear this is good! I love Jane Yolen and tend to love everything First Second Books puts out, so I have high hopes for this.

    • August 3, 2010 9:43 am

      Nymeth – I don’t think I’ve read any other First Second books other than American Born Chinese. Any other recommendations?


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