Sunday, 13 December 2009

Vermonia: Call of the Winged Panther by Yoyo

October 2009, Walker Books
208 pages, Paperback
Review Copy

Graphic Novel, Fantasy

Clouds: 2
Cushions: 4
Pencils: 5
Smiles: 2
Yunaleska's recommended rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Blurb from Walker

The adventure continues as four friends go on a journey of discovery to find their true warrior spirits in an epic battle to save the planet of Vermonia.
Evil Lord Uro's soldiers have kidnapped and imprisoned Mel far away from her friends, Naomi, Doug and Jim and far from her home on the planet of Blue Star. But the friends pledge to find her and continue on their fated journey through the Turtle Realm. Their destiny has long ago been foretold in an ancient prophecy, and they are hailed as four warriors returned to save Vermonia from the destructive clutches of Lord Uro and restore it to the peaceful reign of Queen Frasinella. Before they can accomplish their task, and fulfil their destiny, the skateboarders from Union City must learn to release special power animals and become one with their true warrior spirits. In this thrilling new episode, Jim hears the call of the winged panther who urges him to survive.

Yay! Book 2 has arrived :D Good news for Yoyo, I will not be trying to track down where they are. The brilliant climax in Book 1 is addressed immediately at the start of this second installment in the series. My relief as the outcome for Naomi unraveled was short lived, for Doug has to head off to a shrine where he gains his warrior spirit. He and his friends get trapped by a woman who turns people to stone. Somehow they manage to escape. If only that was the end of their troubles. Doug's spirit guide is correct in saying their journey has only just begun (paraphrased).

There's a new character in town, Fly, a friend of Rainbow's. Jim isn't too keen on Fly - he views him as competition. Rainbow later intimates that she likes Jim, rather than Fly. But Fly must stay on the scene - he can open doors by magic, transporting the friends to different places (that scene is pretty cool). Jim is sad that they have to leave Rainbow in order to continue their quest. However Rainbow isn't gone for long, much to Fly's horror. I'm hoping she'll remain on the quest for the full duration, because more of her identity is revealed in the book, including the reason why Fly is so protective of her, and why she is so interested in helping her new friends find Mel.

I liked how Mel's story is included - I got to see how Uro treats her, a little of what she is feeling as a prisoner. I personally don't think her friends will find her for a long time. Or, if they do, it won't be the end of the story. Additionally more is revealed about the power the guardian spirits bestow on the friends. Even with the new powers I don't think it will be easy to destroy Uro when the final showdown arrives. The friends don't have time to take a break and train up in their powers. Free time doesn't exist in Vermonia.

I have to say the ending isn't as much of a cliffhanger as book one, but it is strong enough for me to sit glaring at the last page.

The world of Vermonia is explored on the official website.

Liked this? Catch up with the first tale in Vermonia: Quest For the Silver Tiger.

(Oh, I've since read other manga and not all have obvious chapter breaks, but the breaks in scene are recognisable).

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