(4 / 5) – Worth It!
I love graphic novels and I love superhero stories about young girls, so when Alicia Keys’ book, “Girl On Fire” came out I was into it for myself as well as for my seven year old boys who devour graphic novels daily.
“Girl On Fire” is the story of a brilliant young black girl in New York City. She is in the same grade as her older brother and lives with her father and maternal grandmother as her mother left the family when Lolo was young. This is the origin story of Lolo’s power, which is somehow tied to another student in her school and her first major conflict to overcome with these new found powers.
This story is great! It sets up the world for the reader and the important relationships for Lolo and leaves the reader with questions and wonderings that will hopefully be tackled in a forthcoming series. Lolo is a great character with a real sense of self that has room to evolve. All the characters are flushed out with complex personalities and motivations many of which are left unexplained. For me, it was the pacing of this installment that threw me a bit. It began great as we lingered in the normal activities of any teenage girls’ day, getting to know Lolo and her family and friends, but then the climax and resolution felt hurried at the end. I wanted more space and time for the villain. That will perhaps come in subsequent stories, but the build up was so good that the climax felt a bit anticlimactic.
In regards to the art, it is fantastic! It engages the reader and I wanted to spend time with the pictures as much as the text which isn’t always true for me. The style and coloring reflect the characters and this world, grabbing the reader and drawing you in, enhancing the narrative, characterizations and circumstances.
Overall this is a wonderful story with fantastic art and room for many more stories of Lolo and her family. It is a great place to begin if you are a novice to graphic novels and a fun new take on superheroes for those who have read many a comic book. If it sparks for you, I highly recommend.