Reviews for Curses! Foiled Again 1

Booklist Reviews 2013 January #1
The Defender of Fairie is back and as confused as ever. Sure, Aliera has her magical weapons and a loyal (if dumb) sidekick in her lab partner-troll defector, Avery, but what next? Well, it isn't long before adventure finds her. While locked away in a troll holding cell, her best friend and cousin is kidnapped. It's up to Aliera to save her, and it all comes to a head in an epic battle that tests loyalties and reveals some interesting history about her selection as Defender. Fans of Yolen's fencing fantasy, Foiled (2010), will not be disappointed by this sequel, featuring more of Cavallaro's cool, mostly monochromatic art. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
Foiled's feisty heroine Aliera makes a return appearance, ready to "save Faerie from the big bad guys." Of course, there's also high school and fencing class, and "balancing the mundane world with the mystical" isn't exactly easy-breezy. Throughout the graphic novel, Cavallaro plays with contrast, interrupting the muted gray palette with bursts of color whenever fantastical creatures or objects appear on the scene.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2013 #2
Foiled's (rev. 7/10) feisty heroine, Aliera Carstairs, makes a return appearance, ready to "save Faerie from the big bad guys. The really big bad guys. You know, ogres and witches and trolls. Oh, my!" But, of course, there's also high school and fencing class, and "balancing the mundane world with the mystical" isn't exactly easy-breezy. To make matters more complicated, Aliera's got an unwanted bodyguard: Avery Castle. He's a high school hottie in daylight, but as darkness falls, he morphs into a troll. And although Avery has pledged to protect her, how can Aliera, Defender of Faerie, bring herself to trust a troll, especially when her cousin Caroline's life may be on the line? As Aliera quarrels with Avery about, well, everything, their back-and-forth thrust and parry is a clever verbal analog to actual fencing. Yolen repeats this comparison and even winks at its appearance in movies like The Princess Bride during Aliera's showdown with the Dark Lord, who is not only the leader of the trolls but, in an unexpected twist, the real betrayer of Aliera's trust. Throughout the graphic novel, Cavallaro plays with contrast, interrupting his muted gray palette (Aliera is colorblind) with bursts of bright color whenever fantastical creatures or objects appear on the scene. tanya d. auger

Kirkus Reviews 2012 November #2
En garde! Gear up for more sword fights and trolls as well as an appearance from Baba Yaga in this swashbuckling sequel. Picking right up where Foiled (2010) left off (though with enough back story for new readers to comfortably jump in), Aliera Carstairs, the sassy, sword-fighting, take-no-prisoners heroine, is still battling trolls as the last Defender of Faerie. Avery Castle, the hottie who turned out to be a troll--literally--is now bound to Aliera as her vassal, causing her more headaches than heart flutters. The unlikely pair must find and battle the Dark Lord, whose identity, when revealed, isn't quite the shocking twist it was set up to be. Cavallaro keeps the stylized sensibility he established in the previous volume, rendering our world a washed-out grayscale landscape and juxtaposing it against the vibrant--though invisible to humans--world of Faerie. Given that each chapter is named for a type of fencing move, it's too bad there is no glossary to help those unacquainted with the sport understand what is undoubtedly a careful authorial nuance. This minor flaw aside, the book offers a lot of fast-paced fairy-tale fun, and Aliera is both admirable and easy to relate to for her fierceness and foibles. A mysterious prophecy of things to come at the conclusion results in raised eyebrows and impatience for Volume 3. (Graphic fantasy. 12 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 November #2

Yolen's smart, introspective, foil-wielding Aliera Carstairs returns, this time to thwart the Dark Lord's plot to kidnap her beloved cousin. The Dark Lord wants the Defender's weapon--that's Aliera's sword, the one with the hokey-looking jewel at the base that Aliera's mother picked up at a tag sale. It's this marriage of the mundane and the magical that gives this sequel to Foiled its most winning moments; Aliera has to squeeze her feats of derring-do in between high school math tests and fencing practice. Cavallaro uses a pallid gray-green palette for the New York City landscape in which Aliera lives her everyday life and rainbow colors for the magical beings that trail her. The story line has heart and intelligence, and Yolen successfully weds faerie lore to cinema-style plot twists; the only weak spot is the occasionally clunky dialogue: "You've watched too many cheap movies, Aliera," her nemesis tells her. "You sound like every cheap villain in them," is Aliera's banal retort. Yet Aliera is such an engaging hero that fans will gladly overlook the deficit. Ages 11-up. Agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. Illustrator's agent: Joe Monti, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Jan.)¦

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 January

Gr 7 Up--Yolen continues Aliera's journey in this follow-up to Foiled (First Second, 2010), which fleshes out more of the faerie world the young fencer has now become a part of. A quick sequential recap of the first story appears at the beginning to make this book accessible to new readers. Aliera has recently come to terms with her new role as Defender of the Faerie. She has discovered that her classmate Avery is actually a magically glamoured troll. He keeps following her around and cryptically promising to tell her more about her destiny. It's a shame that knowing his real identity doesn't make her think he's any less cute. Despite a chance encounter with Baba Yaga while riding the bus, Aliera attempts her normal routine: school, fencing practice, and visiting her cousin Caroline. A band of surly trolls is intent on getting her mystical practice foil, however, and plot to kidnap her and Avery at Grand Central Terminal. Barely escaping unscathed, Aliera learns that Caroline has been kidnapped. Color is used sparsely throughout Cavallaro's fantastic art, helping to highlight the surreal surroundings Aliera keeps getting thrown into. For example, she is in gray tones until she uses her foil to become invisible, which changes her hue to a darker shade of yellow. In dialogue-heavy panels, it can be difficult to tell which character is speaking. Still, the story itself provides a strong female protagonist who will leave readers clamoring for more.--Ryan P. Donovan, New York Public Library

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VOYA Reviews 2012 December
In this sequel to Foiled (First Second, 2010), Aliera Carstairs is a fairly normal teenager who keeps her grades up and is a promising fencer. She has also discovered that she is the "Defender of the Fairie," charged with keeping the balance between the "mundane" and "mystical" worlds. To help her, she has a fencing foil that her mother found at a yard sale, but which is really the sword of the Last Defender of the Fairie (i.e. Aliera). She is joined on her quest by a troll who has taken the form of a handsome high school student named Avery Castle and who calls Aliera his "liege lord," much to her frequent chagrin. Aliera must defend both realms, figure out which fairies, trolls, and other folk there are to actually help her, and keep her parents blissfully oblivious of her additional extracurricular activities This artwork shows influences of both Eastern and Western styles. The use of color is particularly interesting, as the "mundane" world is depicted using a grayscale pallet, while the "mystical" world is depicted with a variety of colors, with each character using a single color as a theme; for example, trolls are colored in shades of green, while many fairies are colored in shades of yellow. The artwork itself is highly detailed, with several seemingly minor elements providing additional information and/or commentary about the action. The storyline shows a similar fusion of styles, taking elements of Western fairy tales and placing them into a "magical girl" story that will be familiar to most readers of manga. The characters are engaging, and the story is well paced. The ending makes it clear that a sequel is already in the works. Young teens looking for a quick read with a strong female character should enjoy this.--Jonathan Ryder 4Q 3P J Graphic Format Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.