- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: First Second; First edition (April 13, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1596432799
- ISBN-13: 978-1596432796
- Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.4 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 19 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #450,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Foiled Paperback – April 13, 2010
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From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up—The chapters in this clever graphic novel follow the terms of a fencing match, from "Engagement" to "Disengagement," with successive stages in between. Most of the illustrations are done in two tones as Aliera Carstairs makes it through her humdrum days in high school, where she doesn't fit in. Color begins to appear when she puts on her fencing mask at Grand Central Station and the fantasy begins. Illustrations complement the text well, with larger pictures reflecting the character's situation and feelings. After meeting her date and admitting to seeing ogres and dragons when wearing her mask, he thinks she is crazy, but a wild adventure ensues. She loses her weapon but it is returned by a fairylike creature who tells her that the foil her mother purchased at a tag sale is the source of her powers, and she is the defender and now part of a world called Helfdon. The ending will leave readers anxiously awaiting the second installment in the series.—Karen Alexander, Lake Fenton High School, Linden, MI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Aliera may have listened too well to her fencing coach’s advice: “You must always protect your heart.” Besting competitors twice her age in tournaments, and keeping to a strict routine of fencing practice, homework, and role-playing games, Aliera is a loner and likes it that way—until she becomes lab partners with the cutest boy in school. She initially resists his charms but is won over when he asks for a date. Turns out her new ruby-handled foil is the key to his interest in her, and to the yet-unseen magical dimension she must keep in balance. Yolen’s first foray into the graphic format is a success precisely because she incorporates the best weapon in her arsenal—fantasy. In Aliera she has created a strong, conflicted, and relatable girl hero who wields her wariness for protection. Cavallaro’s artwork suits Aliera’s monochrome existence, but bursts to life when she finally sees (in color!) the faerie beasties cheering her on. The explanation and source of Aliera’s status as a protector of worlds will have to wait for further volumes to be revealed. Grades 6-10. --Courtney Jones
Top customer reviews
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The good news: even readers who were not previously fans of Yolen's work will enjoy her first venture into the world of graphic novels. Heroine you can respect? Check. No vampires? Check.
The bad news: having been introduced to a great new heroine and fun story, everyone must now grit their teeth upon the realization that we now have to wait for the NEXT issue to be released.
It can't come too soon.
another way to put it: this comic doesn't really have much of a middle or end, but rather just a beginning - a cool beginning.
not quite for those parents who want something strictly G-rated.
as always, parents should pre-read before giving to their kids.
the protagonist is a foilist. epee is not mentioned and saber is dissed, but in a way, I think, that sabreurs will not find off-putting.
What I thought to be a graphic novel about a fencer just trying to get by in school quickly steered more towards fantasy, a favorite genre of mine.
I do reccomend this book to a slightly older crowd as there is some dialogue that could possibly be questionable. Overall, it is a really fun read along with its unique artwork.
High schooler Aliera Carstairs doesn’t fit in. She doesn’t fit in with the goths “(“I don’t look good in black”), the nerds (“my grades aren’t high enough”), or the jocks (“fencing doesn’t count”), but she’s dynamic on the fencing strip. Her coach, grooming her for nationals, advises Aliera to “always guard your heart”: advice she takes very seriously both on and off the strip. Aliera vists her wheelchair-bound cousin and best friend Caroline every week to play role-playing games.
Aliera’s mom, a compulsive bargain shopper, picks up a fencing foil at a garage sale; Aliera plans to use it as a practice foil once she shaves off a big, fake ruby that’s been glued to it. Around the same time she receives the foil, she meets a new boy in school, Avery Castle, who’s a little odd but has all the girls vying for his attention. He asks Aliera on a date and they agree to meet in Grand Central Station after fencing practice. Having never been on a date, she’s nervous but accepts.
In Grand Central Station, things take a Neil Gaiman-esque turn. There, Aliera stumbles on a fantasy world that connects her, Avery, and her unusual foil.
Foiled leaves the reader hungry for a second helping. Aliera, Avery and Caroline are all vibrant, interesting characters, and even when Aliera is at her most guarded, the reader wants to get behind her fencing armor and find out what makes her tick. Older ‘tween and young teen readers alike will enjoy the blending of fantasy into a reality-based setting, and teachers could use this novel in a fairy tale/mythology unit for older readers. The artwork never talks down to the book’s audience, portraying kids as kids rather than caricatures; the fantasy creatures are brightly colored and drawn straight from a vivid imagination and the fencing sketches are dynamic.
While well done and with stylish, engaging art, this book has relatively little story to it. But it does seem to set the stage for further adventures, and as the first installment in a series it works.
"Foiled" follows the story of Aliera, a misfit girl who doesn't fit into any of the cliques at her New York high school and is almost completely invisible... except at the fencing studio where she practices every day. She's a rising star in that sport, and devotes much of her extra time to it, though she also makes time every weekend to play role-playing games with her disabled cousin. When her mother buys her a practice foil (fencing sword) at a tag sale, she's grateful for the weapon but doesn't think much of the tacky gemstone glued to the handle. But when the new boy in school, wildly popular and devastatingly handsome but with a strangely creepy vibe to him, starts paying Aliera more attention than she's accustomed to, she finds herself swept away by him... and discovers that it's not her he's after, but her foil, which is no ordinary practice weapon...
The art style of this book is stylized rather than realistic, but that's a good thing -- it looks great without making the characters fall into the uncanny valley as more realistic works tend to do. The grayscale color scheme is used to great effect, showcasing the real world for the comparatively drab place it can be. When fantasy elements start working their way into the story, they're shown in splashes of color that stand out in marked contrast, and make a creative distinction between the ordinary and extraordinary.
Aliera herself is a good character, one that has her own unique challenges and strengths. She's stubborn but dedicated to the things and people she believes are important, and at times guards herself a little too closely. And most girls can relate to her sudden attraction to Avery, as well as the way it makes her lose focus and do silly things -- who hasn't embarrassed themselves a time or two when they've had a crush? Avery himself is a little too perfect to be true, but this turns out to be an interesting plot point later.
The story itself may have a hard time catching readers' attention -- it's mostly devoted to setting up Aliera's character and establishing the world of the comic (and eventually series). We get a tantalizing glimpse of the fairy world in this book, and a bit of information about the different courts, but not much is laid out in regards to the fantasy elements. Hopefully further books expand on this a little more, and on Aliera's role in the world of the fae.
While it doesn't work very well as a stand-alone book, "Foiled" is an intriguing start to what looks to be a fun and interesting graphic novel series.
Most recent customer reviews
Written by Jane Yolen
Illustrated by Mike Cavallaro
(First Second, 2010)...Curses! Foiled AgainRead more
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