Hey you! Have you read the 5 Worlds series? No? YOU MUST. It’s an incredibly gorgeous graphic novel series that involves these amazing kids trying to save their fantastical world from extinction. Turn back around from this this review of book 3, The Red Maze, and go straight to The Sand Warrior, the first book of the wonderful 5 Worlds series. (Everything you need to know is in that link.) You definitely won’t regret picking up this graphic novel series. It’s an animated series waiting to happen. ;)
After lighting the beacon on Mon Domain and Toki, next stop is Moon Yatta!
Lighting the beacon isn’t gonna be easy on Moon Yatta. There’s a lot of investment in this planet’s beacon because it’s the most technologically advanced in all of the 5 Worlds; corporations that run this planet won’t let it go easily.
Oona Lee, the sand dancer; An Tzu, the kids from the slums who’s fading; and newly reunited Jax Amboy, a former all-star Starboy android, must figure out a way to light the red beacon as they try to convince corrupted corporations and dodge security guards who will stop at nothing to keep their beacon unlit.
The Red Maze is my favorite book in the 5 Worlds series so far. Why you may ask?
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS BOOK:
- This book translates every day problems we face in real life beautifully here and really emphasizes on the fallout from those problems.
In previous books, you see the devastation of what happened to poorer planets from the vast climate changes. In The Red Maze’s Moon Yatta, you see bare lands that once boasted “ten thousand gardens” and “the countless fruit for the galaxy.” This was once upon a time a hot destination full of promises, and now it’s a devastating hellscape. You read about how corporations like Stan Moon have used the residue energy from the Red beacon and sucked the planet dry for their own gains instead of lessening the suffering of their people. You meet people who have been persecuted for having gifts that could potentially threaten these corporations.
Everybody has personal gains of why they want and don’t want the beacon to be lit on Moon Yatta; it explores what any beings—human and not—are willing to achieve, even it puts risks on themselves or others. Every moment in this graphic novel is so relatable.
The real world is reflected in all these scenes, and I loved it because of how strongly I reacted and related to it.
- Every character gets an upgrade.
You think that’s all these characters can do light beacons and kick ass, but nope! Each character gets an upgrade—may it be from new skills (Oona learning she can do more than conjure sand dancers) or body parts (Jax Amboy essentially becoming a real boy with feelings and autonomy). They’ve been enhanced!
I love seeing these characters embrace these changes and assert themselves. They take the new and practice until they have it down. They have control of their actions, and they use it for good and to help each other.
Also, you meet characters you just didn’t expect like a businessman with tentacles for his lower half and shapeshifting beings. It’s so much fun that you gotta experience the art for it.
- You see internal struggles of characters who aren’t Oona, An Tzu, and Jax Amboy.
Everybody has this moral compass of wanting to do good even though they have a lot of things on the line that makes it difficult for them to do what’s right. Not a lot are spoken, but you can see the internal struggles of characters like Derrick Stoak who just wants his Starball champion back and doesn’t seem like he agrees with his brother’s decisions. It’s just really lovely to see that seemingly bad guys isn’t completely bad.
- The art speaks for itself.
I am continually stunned by how gorgeous the art and colors are in the 5 Worlds series. My eyeballs wants to take in more of it with each passing page. My favorite scene is the parallels of Oona learning a new skill and Jax Amboy playing Starball. That was incredible to see.
Who should read The Red Maze? Everybody. Readers who read the previous 5 Worlds books. Fans of Amulet! Lovers of fantasy + kids graphic novels.
Should you read The Cobalt Prince? Yes.
If a graphic novel can make me react—ie. yipping in excitement, shaking my head and cursing in anger, gasping from the shock of what had happened—then it’s done its job of capturing these moments and feelings the characters face. The Red Maze does exactly that.
The 5 Worlds are so worth a read. Get this fantastical world in your life!