Bound To Stay Bound

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 Author: Shammas, Nadia

 Publisher:  Quill Tree Books, HarperAlley (2022)

 Dewey: 741.5
 Classification: Nonfiction
 Physical Description: 302 p., col. ill., 24 cm

 BTSB No: 834410 ISBN: 9780062945846
 Ages: 14-18 Grades: 9-12

 Soldiers -- Fiction
 Knights and knighthood -- Fiction
 Citizenship -- Fiction
 Loyalty -- Fiction
 Graphic novels

Price: $15.57

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. Now, ravaged by famine, Bayt-Sajji finds itself on the brink of war once again. This means Aiza can finally enlist to the competitive Squire training program. In graphic novel format.

 Added Entry - Personal Name: Alfageeh, Sara

   Kirkus Reviews (12/01/21)
   School Library Journal (00/04/22)
   Booklist (+) (01/01/22)
 The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/02/22)
 The Hornbook (00/03/22)

Full Text Reviews:

Booklist - 01/01/2022 *Starred Review* As an Ornu, a second-class citizen, Aiza knows knighthood is her only path to full citizenship in Bayt-Sajji. She hides her heritage by covering her Ornu tattoos in bandages, and then, eager for adventure, she enlists in the Bayt-Sajji army. Life at camp, however, quickly shatters Aiza’s glorious illusions of war; if she fails training, she’ll be deployed to the infantry, where she will surely die on the front lines. But Aiza is determined to succeed. Armed with her conviction—and an upbeat, headstrong, funny personality—Aiza amasses both enemies and friends, including a bearded, one-armed janitor who is also a retired knight. Grouchy but with a heart of gold, he trains Aiza in secret, and her progress soon catches the attention of the general, a conniving, elderly woman. Alfageeh’s effective inking is reminiscent of Fiona Staple’s work, while her distinct use of shadow and space intensify the story’s drama. Though she is small in stature, Aiza’s theatrical gestures make her stand out, and her training takes her to gorgeous pink-and-­orange-tinged landscapes and monuments, such as a lovely rendition of al-Khazneh. This alternative history of the Middle East and North Africa deftly tackles complex subjects such as war, loyalty, and imperialism, all made humane and relatable through a young, compelling protagonist. - Copyright 2022 Booklist.

School Library Journal - 04/01/2022 Gr 7 Up—In a Middle Eastern fantasy setting, this is the story of a young Ornu girl growing up in the Bayt-Sajii Empire. Aiza and her family are forced to live in a community for the marginalized Ornu people, which provides them safety within the Empire but not much more. She dreams of leaving her small farming community to become a hero, and when an opportunity arises to join the army in hopes of becoming a squire (and eventually a knight, which would grant her citizenship), she is eager to serve the Empire. Yet almost immediately, she begins to question the history being taught to the new recruits: that the Empire is at war only because other nations refuse to return to the golden age, when all nations flourished as one. Over time, Aiza learns what it truly means to be a hero and the ways in which historical narratives are used to manipulate people. Alfageeh's artwork is stunning, with inspiration taken from Middle Eastern countries, specifically Turkey and Jordan. The recruits train in a place reminiscent of Petra, with buildings carved into red-toned cliffs, and Aiza and the majority of characters are depicted in various tones of brown skin and hair. Extensive author and artist notes on the process of creating the book are included. VERDICT An action-packed graphic novel in a beautifully depicted world, sure to inspire and engage young audiences.—Amanda Melilli - Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

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