Graphic Novel Review: Bird Boy #1-2

The Sword of Mali Mani by Anne SzablaThe Liminal Wood by Anne Szabla

The Sword of Mali Mani (Bird Boy, #1) 
by Anne Szabla

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Bali is the smallest member of his tribe, always stumbling into trouble, unable to throw a spear in the hunts, and a general nuisance. He ventures into the darkest forest to prove himself, and discovers the hiding place of the legendary sword of Mali Mani. The evil Rooks are after the sword, and Bali must brave the dangers of the forest to keep the sword and its power from falling into their hands.

I loved the artwork in this graphic novel! There is such a contrast between the white snows of the village fields, and the lush green forest environment. There are these beautiful designs carved into everything- rocks, creatures, trees, and the masks of the tribal men. As though some ancient civilization had etched their history into every stone and plant, most surfaces are covered in intricate patterns reminiscent of the Aztecs and Mayans.
I love the legend of Mali Mani, and his retrieval of the light from a fearsome beast. There is such a rich history in this story, and it makes the perfect setting for little Bali and his adventure. Everything that happens to Bali has long shadows in the past giving it more depth and meaning.

Little Bali himself is helpless, and small, and extremely determined! I love how fearless he is, rushing into the forest and facing down wild beasts. He is curious, and funny, and deadly serious as only a child can be. I can’t wait to see more character development from him in future volumes!

I am very interested to find out more about the magic system of this world. The sword is definitely magical, and the Rooks have a mysterious dark power. I want to know more about how this ancient magic connects to the legend of Mali Mani and the sword and the old gods of myth in this world.

The Liminal Wood (Bird Boy, #2) 
by Anne Szabla

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Young Bali has found the ancient sword of legendary Mali Mani, and the Rook men are hunting for the sword in the depths of the dark forest. Bali meets an unexpected ally, who is not all he appears to be. Dodging the fearsome beasts of the forest, and hiding from the Rooks, Bali is unsure who he can trust, but learns to trust his own judgement and the light of the sword.

I loved this 2nd volume, because Bali is adorable, and because the story is full of magic, action, and mystery. The plot really gets moving in this volume with new characters and a deeper look into the world-building.

The artwork is absolutely beautiful, and once again I was entranced by the elaborate designs carved into every stone and tree. It reflects the rich history of this world, to see the etchings of an ancient civilization in every corner of the forest. It lends a depth of meaning to every turning of Bali’s adventure, since there are echoes from the legends of the past surrounding the sword.

Little Bali has the most amazing luck I have ever seen, as he accidentally trips and falls into…. safety. He is constantly at the edge of danger, and barely manages to escape or hide at the last second. Perhaps it is the protection of the sword, or perhaps Bali is simple fortunate with the blessedness of a child. Either way, the action kept me on the edge of my seat.

Can’t wait to read more from this series!

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