As you may remember, I totally loved the first installment of this graphic novel series, 5 Worlds: The Sand Warrior. When we pick up the story in The Cobalt Prince, Oona, An Tzu, and Jax Amboy are fleeing Mon Domani after lighting the beacon. There are still four other beacons to light, and the forces of the Cobalt Prince are hot on their trail. It doesn’t help that their quest takes them right to the heart of his power: the Moon Toki.
In The Cobalt Prince, both Oona and the reader learn more about the mythology of the Five Worlds, including some things that Oona’s sand dancing instructors would have preferred to keep hidden. Fighting evil is all well and good, but the stakes become much higher when you realize that the side you’re fighting for has secrets of its own. Oona is a hero not just because she is able to produce the Living Fire, but because she’s willing to question the rhetoric she’s been fed all of her life and discover the truth for herself.
We also get to hear part of the story from Oona’s sister, Jessa, who was revealed to be working for the Cobalt Prince at the end of The Sand Warrior. The incorporation of Jessa’s narrative transforms the story from “epic quest” to “epic quest + poignant questions of family and identity,” which everyone knows is the best kind. Just as Oona learns to question some of the teachings of Mon Domani, she and An Tzu also have to realize that the Toki people aren’t all to blame for the actions of their Mimic-controlled ruler.
On top of all that, the illustrations – by Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller, and Boya Sun – are lovely and dynamic, rendered in soft tones that bring to life both battle scenes and otherworldly wonders with equal skill. Everything good I said about The Sand Warrior holds true for The Cobalt Prince – the only bad thing about the book is having to wait another year for the next installment, The Red Maze.
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Random House, for review.