Squire is a young adult graphic novel set in an alternate history Middle East/North Africa that follows 14-year-old Aiza, who trains to become a knight for a war-torn empire while hiding her true background as a girl from conquered lands. I was given the chance to review this comic and here are my thoughts.
I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Born a second-class citizen, Aiza has always dreamt of becoming a Knight. It’s the highest military honor in the once-great Bayt-Sajji Empire, and as a member of the Ornu people, her only path to full citizenship. She has to hide her Ornu status in order to blend in while training as we all navigate friendships, rivalries, and rigorous training under the merciless General Hende. As the pressure mounts, Aiza realizes that the “greater good” Bayt-Sajji’s military promises might not include her and that the recruits might be in more danger than she ever imagined.
Firstly I want to talk about the art, since the art of a graphic novel is a vital tool for the story. Not only is it stunning, but it is also very fitting for this story overall. I can’t picture this story with a different art style honestly. It enhances everything as it should.
For the story itself, it’s quite layered and interesting. The topic of individual identity versus national unity is interesting and also very relevant to this day. And this goes beyond just Aiza as we learn more about the other recruits and their own backstories. There are moments of foreshadowing throughout that makes you want to keep reading to know what will happen. The pacing is nicely done, particularly once we’re at the training and onward.
I want to highlight the characters because the characterization of them all is well done and they all are unique and memorable. We get pieces of their backstory in a way that blends in so well, and they develop along with the story nicely. The characters really sell this story and make it impactful.
Overall I enjoyed reading Squire. The story is captivating and meaningful, the characters are interesting, and the artwork is beautiful. It has humor alongside the seriousness plus a little mystery to keep you reading. So if the premise at all sounds interesting to you, give it a read.
Have you read any graphic novels lately? Tell me about them in a comment below!