Comics: Little Guardians Book 1: Trial By Spirit Fire - Reviewed

Little Guardians, written by Ed Cho and illustrated by Lee Cherolis, tells the fantasy tale of two children who were switched at birth and the aftermath of that situation surrounding them as they grow up. Book 1, released in December of 2017, combines all of of the first six issues of the graphic novel, including the special preview issue 0. 

The story follows the lives of Subira, who lives her life as a shopkeeper's daughter instead of as her birth destiny of being a Guardian of her city, and Idem, a young boy struggling to train as the next Guardian, unbeknownst to him that it is not actually his destiny. 

This colorful, fun fantasy series has the potential to be a definite hit, especially when marketed to a younger reader base. I believe it is something that will be thoroughly enjoyed by all, but am thrilled to read a graphic novel that can be enjoyed by children of nearly any reading age. Ed Cho’s writing style makes the story humorous and engaging; it is a truly memorable tale of fantasy that is tinged with enough truth that the positive message will not be lost on readers. Anyone that has followed the books I review will notice that I have a special place in my heart for stories with an empowering message, particularly with a “girl power” theme, and this series is no exception. There are several fantastic female role models throughout the book, and the recurring theme that there is no such thing as “boy’s jobs” and anyone can have a incredible destiny, regardless of gender, is conveyed beautifully throughout the story. Subira is a fantastic character, and after her years of working at a shop, being underappreciated while watching her brothers be treated differently, the story begins to unfold and she realizes she holds the power as the next Guardian, and that is just such a wonderful feeling. 

The artistic life that Lee Cherolis breathes into this series is exactly what you would hope for in a tale marketed so well for younger readers. The characters are drawn in a youthful, cartoon like style that, though appealing to any reader, I believe will resonate strongly with children. Throughout the book there is such a fantastic use of bright colors and fantasy style aspects that just opening the book on any page will draw a reader right in. Its youthful scenery and action sequences are so much fun and I found the expressiveness of the art, combined with the exciting yet heartwarming storyline leaving a smile on my face throughout my entire time of reading it.

Little Guardians is a story that I would wholeheartedly recommend for all ages of readership. Whether you have a child, know a child or are just a child at heart, the outstanding story and positive message of Little Guardians will be an excellent addition to any home library. The creators behind the story have an active Patreon page where they provide updates to anyone looking. You can find that information here

-Rachel Rutherford