humor, and an artistic style that draws younger kids’ attention. It is bright, colorful, and more cartoony than realistic. It is less likely to appeal to teenagers though, because the simplistic comical expressions sometimes take away from the feeling of important scenes.
The book is divided into three parts – described as the past, the present, and the future. Its setting is in the Dark Ages around 500 – 700 AD. There is a prologue which appears to present the actual Beowulf saga but which does not relate to anything in the story that follows. The author explains this by saying that men twist the tale to fit their means, so then tells his version of the tale.
Two brothers, Beowulf and Grendel, are separated at birth because Grendel looks like a monster and Beowulf is taken away with his father. They are reunited with their unusual family: their mother Gertrude who is half-dragon half-human, their ghost father, their grandfather King Hrothgar, and their other grandfather, Odin the Dragon whose bloodline links them all to their ancient home, Daneland.
The plot line is very complicated, and it is hard to keep track of all the sub plots. Similarly, the characters have unusual hard to remember names taken direct from the original Beowulf saga such as Hrothgar, Edgetho, and Dagref. The sub characters have very little character development.
The book has an uncomfortably long introduction, and you don’t even get to meet Beowulf until 2/3 of the way into the story. That makes the title of the graphic novel misleading, because readers will expect a book about a heroic kid named Beowulf, but the first 130 pages are about drama before he was born.
I would rate this book a 3/5. The time, effort, and research put into this graphic novel is impressive, yet the author overdid it a bit. Some of the characters were very dynamic, while others were just there. I would recommend this book to people age 9 and up. It is much too complicated for young kids, but it will definitely appeal to 9 – 12-year-old kids.
Perhaps because the book is intended as the first in a series, it has too much introduction and setting the scene and also avoids any final resolution, leaving us hanging.
If a second book is published, hopefully it will be much more fast paced and not as slow to get to the main plot.
Kid Beowulf: The Blood-Bound Oath by Alexis E. Farjado. Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2016. Buy the book here and support Children's Art Foundation-Stone Soup in the process!
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