My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I found this at the library and thought it might be a graphic novel adaptation of Schwab's books but it's actually a prequel. I'm sure it would have made more sense had I read the books (so that's on me). I liked it, though there wasn't anything particularly original about the plot. Maxim is the crown prince and Dad thinks he needs to be taught a lesson so sends him to the ass end of the kingdom in a place to rough and tumble, it's likely to humiliate (if not kill) Maxim.
He is quickly discovered by Isra who is the military leader in this place and she, to her credit, isn't dismissive of Maxim. She does try to train him up because as she points out, he fights like a royal (i.e. more like a sparring match than a fight to the death) And to Maxim's credit, he takes this criticism and works to better himself.
Enter into this, a pirate queen who basically rules the city and Maxim isn't about to put up with her, leading to the action packed second half of this.
I wasn't that fond of the art in that it seems to vary chapter to chapter. (Is Maxim Hispanic descent? Middle Eastern? African? you can't quite tell because it varies). The art isn't ugly by any means, it's just not very even (something I've been saying for years in American comics versus manga for instance).
Where not knowing the books became a problem with this prequel is the magical worldbuilding is completely lacking. It's expected that you know it. Which okay, fair enough, that's my fault. It certainly makes me want to see more and to get those books.
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