Friday, June 09, 2017

5 Worlds: The Sand Warrior by Siegel, Siegel, Bouma, Rockefeller, and Sun

Oona Lee goes to Sand Dancer Academy but she feels out of place. Clumsy in a way her big sister never would have been, she struggles to keep control of her aniform (dancing sand figure) but it always gets away from her. When she's sent out of class to retrieve her sand after losing control of her aniform, Oona overhears a conversation that disturbs her. The Five Worlds - interconnected moons - are dying. The only way to save them is for the chosen sand dancer to light the five beacons on Beacon Day, which will create harmony. Then it'll all be copacetic. Or, so they hope.

But, last year's Chosen One not only didn't perform the proper rites to light the beacons on Beacon Day, she ran away. That Chosen One just happened to be Oona's sister, Jessa Lee. Oona doesn't have anywhere near the confidence or ability that her sister had and neither does the new sand dancer, this year's Chosen One. But, Jessa has written to Oona, instructing her to take a ship to Moon Yatta. That will mean missing Beacon Day but Oona is prepared to leave. Maybe her sister can help her work out how to save the Five Worlds.

Instead, when Oona shows up for her flight, chaos ensues. Her world is attacked by the people of another moon, the Toki, who plan to steal the queen's bones to help them become powerful. The Toki have been conquered and enslaved by Oona's people but the Chosen One is one of them. Oona is confused but still thinks Jessa can help light the five beacons, if only she get to her. But, with her world at war, is that even possible?

From the attack onward, 5 Worlds: The Sand Warrior becomes an adventure so intense that I found myself gripping the book, sitting up straighter, absolutely immersed. The Sand Warrior is a quest and Oona is the unwitting heroine. On her adventure, she meets a young boy named An Tzu, who suffers from a disease that's making him slowly disappear but who has special abilities. She also meets Jax Amboy, a star ball player who is not quite what he seems. Her team gathered, they go looking for help. But, in order to get to their goal, they'll have battles to fight and prejudices to overcome.

Highly recommended - 5 Worlds: The Sand Warrior is a graphic novel for middle graders that starts a little slow as it introduces Oona but then her quest gradually comes into focus. From the moment Oona meets the current Chosen One and begins her quest, she realizes that she may have more natural ability than she could have guessed. Regardless, she is determined to make sure the interconnected worlds survive.

There are hints of various Earth concepts. The light from the beacons, for example, is what keeps the five worlds in balance. What's happening to them is basically climate change. And, to restore balance, the worlds - which contain entirely different peoples (some blue-skinned, some basically animated plants) must overcome their prejudices and work together. Oona has never had many friends because of her awkwardness but her willingness to take help where it's offered not only enables her to gather the strength of others but also leads to the creation of a second family, of sorts. My favorite kind of book!

I've never been a fan of graphic novels, although I do occasionally read and enjoy them (I just don't go out of my way to seek them out) but I'll be on pins and needles till the next book in this series comes out. It's easy to read but also requires thought; and the quest is so gripping I stayed up to finish, even though I got a very late start on my reading. I closed it in the end and thought, "I want to reread this!" Seriously, it's that good. I loved the adventure, the growth of the characters (especially Oona), the meaning behind the story, and the denouement. There's a surprise about Oona's sister at the end, also, that leads to an epic good vs. evil battle. I just can't tell you enough how fun 5 Worlds: The Sand Warrior is. Recommended for middle graders, as it was intended, but if you like a good adventure and you're an adult, you might want to sneak this one into your basket for when you need a light, adventurous read. I was honestly shocked at how much I loved it. I will definitely reread it and I can hardly bear thinking about how long it will take for the second book to come out.

My thanks to Random House for the chance to read and review 5 Worlds: The Sand Warrior!

And, it's Friday; time for a Fiona Friday pic (starring Isabel). Isabel is attracted to fresh laundry and this pile of laundry hadn't been on the bed more than a minute before she showed up and began tunneling into it. My plan was to fold the laundry immediately, but after she'd tunneled for a bit, Izzy made herself a nest and, I suppose, told herself, "The laundry is clean and I must be, also" because she took a lengthy bath and then settled into the middle of her nest and fell asleep. I did the only thing available to me. I picked up the closest book and read, instead of folding.

©2017 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery  or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.


  1. A lot of my blogging buddies are reviewing this one. I'm starting to want to read it, even though I'm not a huge graphic novel reader.
    My cats don't burrow into my laundry thank goodness but they sometimes lay at the edges of it. They shed so bad year round that I'd be pretty mad if they burrowed into it. You're much more patient than me.

    1. I'm not a huge graphic novel reader, either, but this one was wonderful. Excellent storytelling, loved the heroine, the pages flew. It was just an all-around solid, exciting read.

      Isabel is my burrower. The first thing she did when she saw me put the load of laundry down was jump up and stick her nose in the middle of the clothing. Then, her entire head disappeared. Sometimes she literally digs out a hollow to lie in but this time she just played at tunneling for a bit and then flopped on top, took a bath, and fell asleep. It doesn't bother me, but I do sometimes have to get out the sticky roller to remove fur.

    2. Anonymous8:49 PM

      Why does jessa not want oona to light thwe beacon?

    3. Sorry, I no longer remember. Jessa's Oona's sister, right? I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that Jessa is on the side of evil and lighting the beacon is for the greater good. It's very much a classic good vs. evil with racism vs. embrace of diversity, as well.


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