Book Review

The Deep & Dark Blue by Niki Smith

This was an excellent graphic novel that I would seriously love to see made into a movie. There is action and political intrigue, fascinating world building, and deep character development. Not bad for a middle grade graphic novel!

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.

Goodreads

This was an excellent graphic novel that I would seriously love to see made into a movie. There is action and political intrigue, fascinating world building, and deep character development. Not bad for a middle grade graphic novel!

When royal twins find their family under attack, they escape and hide in the women’s section of the city. There is one panel in particular that shows a land mass within a bustling city circled by a river, high walls guarding feminine secrets, and I want in! Dressed as girls, they are initiated into the Communion of the Blue, which is a fabulous society based on religious myths of a Mother Weaver whose proclivity for blue bestows life. One twin, Hawke aka Hannah, is taken into the guards, where he struggles to learn weaponless combat after a young life of sword training. The other twin, Grayson aka Grayce, is welcomed into the inner sanctum to learn how to spin blue wool. Oh, and I mention that spinners can perform magic with their spinning? This whole premise gives me serious Avatar: The Last Airbender vibes, and I love it.

What Makes This Book Queer?

When Grayson enters the Communion of the Blue, everyone around comments on what a lovely girl they make, which causes Grayson to blush with obvious pleasure. While Hawke is eager to return to their old life and reclaim the throne, Grayce feels at home in the women’s world, seen and understood for the first time.

It’s a very sweet transgender narrative. Her brother is unobservant, but when a more savvy mutual friend points out Grayce’s happiness, he quickly understands and supports his sister. And even though I knew it was coming, seeing the magic of the tapestry confirm Grayce’s identity was absolutely moving. I really hope Smith writes more in this world!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Find more books nominated for Lambda Literary Awards reviewed here!

3 comments on “The Deep & Dark Blue by Niki Smith

  1. Pingback: 2021 Lambda Literary Awards – Roar Cat Reads

  2. Pingback: 7 Books for International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia – Roar Cat Reads

  3. Pingback: 10 Underrated LGBTQ+ Books – Roar Cat Reads

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