Goodreads: The Deep & Dark Blue
After a terrible political coup usurps their noble house, Hawke and Grayson flee to stay alive and assume new identities, Hanna and Grayce. Desperation and chance lead them to the Communion of Blue, an order of magical women who spin the threads of reality to their will.
As the twins learn more about the Communion, and themselves, they begin to hatch a plan to avenge their family and retake their royal home. While Hawke wants to return to his old life, Grayce struggles to keep the threads of her new life from unraveling, and realizes she wants to stay in the one place that will allow her to finally live as a girl.
The Dark & Deep Blue introduces readers to a vivid fantasy world where the lords of the noble houses rule with dignity and honor. Young Hawke and Grayson, however, find themselves on the run when a jealous relative usurps their house. Now disguised as girls, they are hidden in the Communion of Blue, an order of women who can spin the threads of reality. The story is fast-paced and action-packed, and sure to appeal to readers who live middle-grade fantasy graphic novels.
The Dark & Deep Blue initially appealed to me with its intriguing world. I found the glimpses of the ruling houses tantalizing, and thought the concept of women who can shape reality incredibly interesting. However, the world building is never fully realized. Exactly where Hawke and Grayson live and how politics works is never fully explained. And I never did figure out exactly what the Communion of Blue does, or how they supposedly shape reality. Sadly, the confusing, and vague, illustrations made it difficult to follow the workings of the magic. Usually, I was only able to decipher the results, never the process.
Aside from the vague magic, however, the illustrations are very appealing. I really loved the deep, blue colors that make up so much of the color palette. I could immerse myself just in those colors, even without the story! I think readers who are drawn to bold illustrations styles with vibrant colors will like The Dark & Deep Blue.
The main strength of the story was, for me, the characters. I may not understand the politics or the magic, but I did fall in love with Hawke and Grayson and their friends. They are bold and clever and true, and I wanted them to reclaim their birthright and their home. Their unconditional love and support for one another was heartwarming.
The Dark & Deep Blue will probably not make it onto my list of the best graphic novels of 2020. I need more detailed worldbuilding for that. However, I do think it will appeal highly to tween readers who enjoy fantasy graphic novels. It provides enough adventure, intrigue, and action to keep readers hooked, even if they are not always sure what is happening.