224. The Sons of Liberty, Vol. 1 by Alexander Lagos & Joseph Lagos

The Sons of Liberty, Vol. 1 by Alexander Lagos & Joseph Lagos. Art by Steve Walker (Canada) - (USA)
The Sons of Liberty, Vol. 1

Pages: 176
Ages: 13+
Finished: Oct. 24, 2010
First Published: May 25, 2010
Publisher: Random House
Genre: graphic novel, historical fantasy, science fiction, YA
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Bitter cold ... After so many miles of living forest and farmland, so quiet ...

Acquired: Borrowed a copy from the Calgary library while on vacation.

Reason for Reading: This is a Cybils '10 nominee and required reading for me as a panelist.

An unusual story, not what I was expecting going into it. Set in pre-revolutionary America the story revolves around two young runaway slave boys, their cruel owner and his son, and a vicious slave hunter. Then there is the lone Quaker who decries slavery and helps slaves to try to escape and Benjamin Franklin, famous for his experiments with electricity among many things, and also the friend of slaves; also his mean-spirited son who seems to have something to prove to his father by doing something greater than him through whatever means are necessary.
The story centres on the two boys' escape, their being hunted, near captures, those who help them along the way, and the evil experiment that is done to them at one point which gives them superpowers along with glowing eyes. They are trained in an ancient African martial art by the only living survivor in the New World and given ancient relics and masks on his deathbed. The story ends historically at the time when Franklin is called to go to England for diplomatic duties.

The art is gorgeous and the first thing that struck me so that I had to briefly glance through the book to take a further look before I actually started reading. The artwork is very dark both in subject matter and palette, which matches the plot. All frames are bordered with black and the primary colour used throughout is shades of brown with an accent of green, with fight sections done in a violet blue and a few sections done in shades of red to create another mood. When the frequent use of dark, shadowy figures isn't in play the drawing is beautifully detailed and realistic.

I found the story fascinating. The Prologue did have me a bit confused and I did go back and read it after I'd finished the book to understand it. But once the main story started, which is pure historical fiction for the beginnings, I was hooked. Then when the science fiction/fantasy elements are added the story does become rather unusual and very unique. I certainly will say I enjoyed the story but it did seem to lose a bit of cohesion with the mixing of the sci-fi powers and the 'real' aspects of the story. The ending had an Epilogue which I would have been happier without as it showed what one expected to come next yet the narrative text was metaphorical and left this reader a with a bit "hmph". I'm intrigued and enjoyed the story enough that I have no hesitation in adding the next book to my must read list next year.

As to age appropriateness, this is definitely a Teen book. There is a lot of violence and plenty of blood. The violence can be squeamish but is not extreme. Their is some language. Meaning a few harsh profanities used very sparingly. I'm comfortable recommending for the average 13+ but some parents may be more comfortable with a 15+ recommendation.


  1. This sounds really interesting for my 13-year-old. He loves American history and science fiction. I'm going to check it out.

    I don't say this often enough - thank you for your thoughtful comments on age appropriateness. It is very helpful to me as I negotiate the "young adult" section of the library which has so much junk. If I could preview everything for my readers, I would. Great to have help in this area!

  2. Sounds interesting. Not sure if it is something I want to read, though... Have to see if my library has it.

  3. I agree, it sounds quite interesting. Love the cover, too! Reminds me of how Goosebumps used to color their cover drawings.

    Book reviews


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