The Hunt Is On

Graphic Universe. (Seekers of the Aweto: Bk. 1). Mar. 2021. 136p. Tr $27.99. ISBN 9781541597846; pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781728420219.
Gr 7-10–In medieval China, along the Silk Road, Xinyue, who can command insects with his drum; his grumpy older brother Qiliu, who has wings and can fly; and their mother Bu Ren Niang are among the many seeking the legendary celestial aweto, which grants eternal life. The three of them attempt to follow insects to the chadolo, an earth deity who grows the aweto on their head. They find a chadolo who is none too happy about being disturbed, and the villagers vow to keep the deity safe. In the ensuing battle, the brothers are successful, but it turns out the chadolo had a baby growing inside, a cute little plant creature who imprints on Xinyue. Without the aweto, the village will turn into a desert, so the village’s princess goes on the hunt for the brothers and the baby. The pace picks up near the end, just in time to conclude on a cliff-hanger. Jun pulls from his culture of the Qinghai province in China, and the story offers a glimpse into the beauty and storytelling of the area. The setting is well crafted, and readers will find the sibling dynamic between the brothers delightful, and perhaps a bit familiar. Jun’s delicate watercolors practically sing in their movement and detail.
VERDICT An exciting story with dreamlike illustrations. Fans of the Avatar: The Last Airbender comics will enjoy this title, and the adorable baby chadolo makes the book a good companion piece for teens waiting for the next season of The Mandalorian.

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