Princess Mera is teenage royalty and heir to the throne of Xebel, a penal colony ruled by the other no-so-lost land under the sea, Atlantis. Her father, his court and the entire kingdom are expecting her to marry and introduce a new king. But Mera is destined to wear a different crown….
When the Xebellian military plots to overthrow Atlantis and break free of its oppressive regime, Mera seizes the opportunity to take control over her own destiny by assassinating Arthur Curry–the long-lost prince and heir to the kingdom of Atlantis. But her mission gets sidetracked when Mera and Arthur unexpectedly fall in love. Will Arthur Curry be the king at Mera’s side, or will he die under her blade as she attempts to free her people from persecution?
An astonishing graphic novel that explores duty, love, heroism and freedom, all through the eyes of readers’ favorite undersea royalty.
From New York Times best-selling author Danielle Paige (Dorothy Must Die) and artist Stephen Byrne comes a Mera and Aquaman origin story that explores Mera’s first steps on land, and her first steps as a hero or villain, forcing her to choose to follow her heart or her mission to kill.
Potentially Sensitive Areas: Mild language; Mild sexual themes; Violence
Booklist (January 1, 2019 (Vol. 115, No. 9))
Grades 8-12. Mera is the princess and successor to the throne of Xebel, a nation under the rule of Atlantis. Mera’s mother was a warrior killed in battle, and her father tries to protect her from the same fate. Eager to prove herself, she secretly takes on the task of killing Arthur Curry, unknowing heir of Atlantis, until she realizes she loves him more than she hates his lineage. Mera is a compelling, easy-to-admire character. She readily proves her worthiness as a warrior, and readers will see in her plenty of parallels to Wonder Woman. The forbidden love theme plays out in the contention between the Xebellians and Atlanteans (and, more specifically, Arthur and Mera), which bears more than a passing resemblance to that of the Montagues and Capulets. Mera’s and her family members’ red hair is the focus of the illustrations, since it is the brightest thing in each of Byrne’s muted, bluish-gray panels. What with Aquaman’s introduction in last year’s Justice League movie and his own feature to pique extra interest, this graphic novel is likely to be a hit.
Kirkus Reviews (January 15, 2019)
A feisty undersea princess must choose between love and duty. Bestselling author Paige (The Queen of Oz, 2017, etc.) reinvents Mera, the fierce, fiery-tressed heir to the throne of Xebel, an undersea realm ruled by the Atlanteans. The Xebellians yearn to be free of the Atlantean reign and plot to kill their missing royal heir, Arthur Curry (also known as Aquaman), who has been living among the humans. Singularly focused Mera comes to the surface to murder him but is ultimately touched by his intrinsic kindness. As Xebel and Atlantean tensions crescendo and romantic feelings grow, will Mera be able to slaughter the boy she now loves? Paige has rendered a sassy, take-no-prisoners heroine who may look like Disney’s Ariel but who is imbued with grit and substance. Artist Byrne’s tidy illustrations utilize a spare color palette, with cool gray marine tones save for the dramatic splashes of Mera’s red hair. Arthur and Mera’s backstory in the DC Universe is rather intricate, and while this volume explains it as well as possible, certain details are still a bit hazy. Those turned off by insta-love may want to pass; Mera and Arthur’s relationship and its ensuing tension are easily foreseen. Nearly all main characters are white and straight, however secondary and background characters portray a sampling of different skin tones and orientations. Though a bit convoluted, this mashup puts a fresh spin on a lesser-known superhero. (Graphic fiction. 12-18)
About the Author
Danielle Paige is the New York Times bestselling author of the Dorothy Must Die series, Stealing Snow, and the upcoming Mera book with DC Entertainment. In addition to writing young adult books, she works in the television industry, where she’s received a Writers Guild of America Award and was nominated for several Daytime Emmys. She is a graduate of Columbia University and currently lives in New York City.
Her website is daniellepaigebooks.com.
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