Terry Blas; Claudia Aguirre (Illustrator)
I was encouraged to pick up this original graphic novel as a sample of the type of quality BOOM! Studios has committed to producing for middle grade readers and ultimately I was not disappointed.
The Good: Terry Blas builds a completely original story from a classic fantasy archetype (the enchanted house/doorways to other worlds) with a modern spin that makes it feel fresh and new. Add in a really fun, diverse cast and increasingly interesting locations for them to explore and you have a winning recipe for a graphic novel that will keep any young reader entertained and reading. The art is very complimentary of the lettering, and keeps the reader moving at a brisk place with a kinetic flair for action sequences and the ability to communicate a range of emotions from their cast I thought this was one of the more strikingly illustrated graphic novels this year.
The Bad: I did feel, however, that it took some time to get into the story which I am always cautious to note as that is when most middle grade readers will lose steam and put the book down. I think this story in particular could have benefited from a more dynamic beginning where the stakes are more clearly illustrated, but once we are into the crux of the story it really does move at an incredible and entertaining pace.
Ultimately I recommend this graphic novel for middle grade readers who are interested in fantasy adventure and encourage them to stick with it and be rewarded with a truly unique and fun spin on a classic genre trope.
CRITICS HAVE SAID
“A valiant effort with a pretty decent result, Hotel Dare is still a fun twist on an old trope and has a lot of promise–enough to make me want to pick up the next volume to see what happens when the author has some breathing room.” –Seattle Book Review