When we last saw our heroine, Oona, she’d been pretty busy – she uncovered her true Toki heritage, reunited with (and subsequently lost) her older sister, and discovered key information about lighting the beacons of the 5 Worlds. After learning that the beacons must be lit in a specific order to unlock their powers, Oona, An Tzu, and Jax Amboy are headed to Moon Yatta to light the red beacon, hoping that doing so will allow allies on Toki to light the blue beacon there simultaneously.
An Tzu is particularly excited to be headed to Moon Yatta, which he always dreamed of as a kind of paradise. To his and his companions’ horror, however, the once-lush world has been almost overtaken by the nefarious Nanotex corporation, which has been siphoning off the red beacon’s power for their own purposes. To make matters more complicated, the owner of Jax’s former starball team has gotten wind that Jax is still alive – and will stop at nothing to win back his star player. To light the beacon, Oona will have to join forces with Moon Yatta’s rebels to master the nuances of sand dancing there.
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of this graphic novel series, and this third installment definitely lived up to expectations! Jax was largely absent from The Cobalt Prince, so it was great to have him back in action in The Red Maze. There are definite Hunger Games Capital-esque vibes to Moon Yatta, and while that makes things difficult for our heroes, I have to admit I loved seeing everyone dolled up for a welcome party that greets Oona’s arrival on the planet. The sub-plots in this volume were especially strong, focusing on Jax’s evolution from android to something more and on the plight of the Yattan Shapeshifters, who have been cruelly subjugated in recent decades. And, of course, I can’t write any review without tipping my hat to the series’ trio of artists, Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller, and Boya Sun, who continue to do an outstanding job of bringing the story by Mark Siegel and Alexis Siegel to life.
Just as in previous volumes, the secrets of the 5 Worlds and its main characters slowly come to light throughout the course of the storytelling. The biggest mystery still pressing the team is An Tzu’s strange vanishing illness, for which they have still been unable to find a cure. There are hints that we’ll finally learn more about it in the next book, The Amber Anthem, due out sometime next year. Until then, we’ll have to be satisfied by rereading the first three books in the series!
As a bonus treat, the 5 Worlds team also recently released a test animation for the graphic novel series, which you can view below!
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Penguin Random House, for review.