If you’re interested in fast-paced graphic novel with a bunch of girls armed with superpowers here’s a story for you
Crystal Cadets by Anne Toole, Katie O’Neill, Paulina Ganucheau
I received a preview copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Zoe has always felt out of place; her foster parents are great and all, but she’s long felt like something was missing. That is, of course, until she discovers a mysterious gem left to her by her birth mother and her whole universe gets flipped around! When the crystal grants Zoe mysterious powers of light she becomes the Diamond Cadet, and she’s not the only one; suddenly she’s meeting new friends who shoot flames and glowing green arrows. It’s all fun at first, but when The Darkness possesses Zoe’s foster parents her only choice is to join this wild group of action-hero girls, traveling the globe to defeat The Darkness and find a cure!
This novel is all about friendship and fighting evil. It all starts with just three girls, but rather quickly they find and save more cadets, more gifted girls with jewels that allow them to use their special powers. Each gem has its own strengths and weaknesses and the girls have to fight as a team to defeat the evil lurking nearby. But who will be the last cadet? Who’s controlling the darkness?
It all felt like a crossover between Sailor Moon and W.I.T.C.H., a story where some teenagers try to save the world. I did like both of the mentioned mangas by the way, and I did like this one, but just a bit less. Crystal Cadets felt a little rushed. The new girls had to learn how to use their skills pretty much the same moment they found out about them. It’s not really convincing. I think I’m getting enough of the stories in which a hero or heroine suddenly finds out about their super abilities and all of a sudden they know how to control them. I’m starting to like books in which characters learn using their skills slowly, or where they were learning for years already, it’s more believable that way. OK, maybe these girls didn’t have a perfect control over their skills at once, but it still felt too fast.
The girls make a great team, they still need to bond to make awesome evil-fighting superheroes, but they’re up to a good start. Also, if you enjoy diversity in your stories, this one is perfect :). Not only the girls themselves but also the creatures they can summon vary in looks, types, and abilities.
And look at the graphic! isn’t it adorable? And all the colors! I loved it. Girls’ skills are nicely shown and the Darkness is well distinct in all the colorful panels. I had an ARC copy and the last few pages were colorless and even though it presents how the monsters from the dark side looked like, I did prefer the colored version. The images can be quite detailed and with only the black and white lines, they would be chaotic. Besides I do like colored graphic novels :).
In conclusion, I did like the graphic, the idea, and the diversity, but it was all too fast. It’s a good novel for a younger audience for sure, but for me, it simply lacked some smoothness, some panels in between the action, some explanation for everything that was happening.