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The Deep & Dark Blue

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  200 ratings  ·  63 reviews
After a terrible political coup usurps their noble house, Hawke and Grayson flee to stay alive and assume new identities, Hanna and Grayce. Desperation and chance lead them to the Communion of Blue, an order of magical women who spin the threads of reality to their will.

As the twins learn more about the Communion, and themselves, they begin to hatch a plan to avenge their
Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Raven Black There are some death scenes, but tastefully done. I'd say strong 10-14 best audience.…moreThere are some death scenes, but tastefully done. I'd say strong 10-14 best audience. (less)

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Average rating 4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  200 ratings  ·  63 reviews

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This is a hard one to review. I received an advance copy of this book, and while the final copy is supposed to be in full colour, there was no colour in my copy and half of the book had unfinished illustrations. So my experience with the advance copy and your experience with the finished copy will be undoubtedly different.

But because the illustrations weren’t at their best, I focused my attention more on the characters and dialog. The dialog is on point. Not too much of it and not too little of

Many thanks to Little Brown Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

Phew. When I picked this graphic novel up, I did not expect it to be so hard hitting. Especially for a middle grade novel.

This fantasy graphic novel follows Hawke and Grayson after they evade being killed by their evil cousin. To evade capture, they disguise themselves as girls and join the Communion of Blue.

As they come up with their next steps, Hawke and Grayson—Now using the aliases ‘
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, lgbtq, comics
I've been a fan of Niki Smith for years and have been eagerly following the updates on this book ever since it was announced. It does not disappoint! Grayson and Hawke are twins, grandchildren of the Lord of House Sunderlay. They are forced to flee a bloody political coup and go into hiding in plain sight. They disguise themselves as twin sisters and enter as initiates into the Communion of Blue, a holy sisterhood of dyers, weavers, magic spinners, healers and guardians who live and train in a ...more
Lisa (Remarkablylisa)
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: december-2019

Full review to come.
Niki Smith
May 07, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: books-i-m-in
My new book...!
Really charming trans graphic novel. This is only the second graphic novel I've ever read so I'm still getting used to processing story lines in that format and can't really comment on any of that (especially because I read an ARC with no color, and I think color would've helped me differentiate between characters better), but I loved the trans storyline and lbr that's what I was there for.
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's cute and and has some very sweet heartfelt moments. Action is swift. There is violence but it's not overly graphic. The motivation of the antagonist is a bit handwavey and I would've liked a bit more time there. As a spinner I enjoyed seeing all of the spindle spinning in the book. Not the best print quality I've seen--colors were a bit muted or washed out. I wonder if I'd gotten an e-version if they would've been more vibrant.
Gina Carra
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtq, trans
This graphic novel captured my heart in an instant. The focus on blue and pink was a beautiful, subtle detail in a story about gender. Hawke and Grayce protect each other while learning about themselves and the result is a heartwarming tale that will stay with me for years to come.
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful story dabbling in, sword, sorcery, and self-discovery. The fast paced plot of avenging family is well timed and punctuated with a beautifully handled transgender narrative that had me getting teary and feeling deeply for Hawke and especially Grayce. Great art and great characters! The reviews of it hitting both notes of Korra and Witchboy are very accurate!
Raven Black
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
A few weak spots in story line. But interesting, longer graphic novel of gender identity, family and politics.
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt, to-buy-maybe, 2020
this is definitely one of my favorite graphic novels ever... maybe my favorite mg graphic novel!!! my heart is so full ...more
Jan 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Twin boys Hawke and Grayson hide in the Communion of Blue, disguised as girls, after the murder of their relative who was next in line for their noble house.

4.5 stars and the last hundred pages or so were definitely five! You frequently see 'girls disguised as boys' to make their way in the world but 'boys disguised as girls' is less often done. And this is done very well. Grayson, who goes by Grayce in the Communion, discovers that he really is she (Grayce is transgender). Seeing Grayce realize
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, magic, queer, fantasy
A trans protagonist, some light trope reversals, and pretty art made for a good read. I would enjoy reading more about these twins, and the Communion of the Blue.
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Genderqueer person here. I *loved* this. I really hope there's eventually a whole middle reader series based on this world, and Hawke, and Grayce. I would also like an Into the Spiderverse style movie, please.

Deep & Dark Blue is an adventure with a martyr, an usurper who commits murder of a family member for power, magical weaving of lineage tapestries, gender-split identical twins, and a number of loving, accepting real deal allies. None of the awful trans narrative stuff like being
Melanie Gillman
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An engaging fantasy book with magic, political intrigue, and gorgeous artwork! Recommended.
NicoleLynn (PopCrunchBoom)
This was a fast read & such a sweet story! I loved the themes of being true to who you are as well as the bond of family & friends. While we are rather thrust into the world, I did find that I didn’t need too much more world building for the story’s plot to take place. With that said, as an adult I would have loved to see more world building! Still, for someone who may be closer to the intended audience’s age I think this story had the right amount of world building for the plot.

Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a FANTASTIC juvenile/young ya graphic novel. Beautifully rendered, excellent story of finding and fighting for your place in the world.

Grayson and Hawke are twin grandsons of the king. But a coup by their older cousin - and her assassination of the king and his primary heir - force them to flee the castle. They take refuge with a religious order The Communion, where they hide as new - female - initiates. Hawke (now Hanna) chafes at the requirements of the new order, but Grayson (now
This was so sweet and sad and beautiful - I was crying by the end. Smith has created a really fascinating, unique world with unique magic that was fun to dive into. Grayce's story was so wonderfully done; her fear, worry and joy are palpable on the page I loved seeing her get to be her true self. This comic has just the right amount of political intrigue for me - it's crucial to the plot but honestly not the focus, and I appreciated that there was time given to lore and world building. So good, ...more
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the story and liked the art, though the use of pink/red around the characters' eyes made me worry that everyone had conjunctivitis.

I wish the world-building had been stronger, though. We weave the fates and the winds! WTF does that mean, though? The fantasy elements were a backdrop/aesthetic and not integrated well into the action. Maybe a sequel will come along and explain more, though.
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great adventure fantasy story! I was doubly excited to find one of the character's transgender identity was NOT the main focus of the story, nor did it phase any of the other characters once they realized it.
Feb 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
This is a sweet, inclusive, and heartfelt graphic novel that fans of THE NAMELESS CITY and THE WITCH BOY will love.
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a wonderfully woven story! The Deep & Dark Blue is a tale about twin noble brothers out to save their family line and find their true identities. The story is exciting, heartwarming, and set in a beautiful world. The artwork is phenomenal and enriches the story further. This is a middle-grade book so I recommend it to preteens, or anyone who enjoys fantasy and adventure. I'm always happy to see more middle-grade books and love to support them! This is definitely a great example as to ...more
Katie Lawrence
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
This was a lovely, inclusive book! I love Grayce and Hawke as characters and I found the Communion of Blue to be really intriguing. I did wish there was a bit more of an explanation of spinning blue, the powers that seems to imbue in the spinner etc. It was hard for me to understand all that Grayce was able to do. Other than that though, this was a wonderful story! Grayson is able to find her true self with the Communion and embraces her new identity and name of Grayce. I loved the easy way that ...more
This was really enjoyable. It was fast-paced but still gave the twins room to explore who they are and what they want, and how they related to each other as one twin explored their true gender identity was lovely.

I enjoyed the art style and use of color a lot, and while it took me several pages to pick up on, I appreciated the subtle way they used hair to differentiate between the twins. It really helped me keep them separate.

The thing I wanted more of was background and world building. I am
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Gorgeous art, compelling, sweet — a great balance of tenderness and dark political intrigue. So wonderfully queer. Read / look at this art, and enjoy.
Austin Gullett
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This graphic novel accomplished SO MUCH in such few plot points. The plot really just chugs along, we don’t get particularly bogged down in political or magic systems, BUT they are both front and center in the story. They are presented as if we are familiar and we are left to unwind and interpret them as we go, and I think that that is a major strength here. It makes the world very believable, and I would read a sequel in a heartbeat.

There are many characters, but it’s really a story about a
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book! I loved the story and the art. The characters were great and well thought-out. There was heart, action, sadness, and fun. Great for fans of realistic fantasy graphic novels.
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
This was a sweet and compelling story, with nice art. I appreciated some of the unique details - I'd be happy to spend a lot more time in the world that was created. Happy to have this adding depth to a shelf of graphic novels.
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, lgbtq, childrens
a very cool, very original fantasy with a trans mc!! i'm obsessed with the colors, they're so rich and beautiful. the weaving magic was very cool--a little confusing because it isn't explained super well, but that didn't bother me too much. it's just magic. there's some political intrigue and a fun boarding-school type of vibe, complete with sorting ceremony. love those. my main complaint about the book is that i wanted more--a little more explanation, and some more time with the characters. it ...more
Julia Krystosek
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I wish I could go back in time and give this to my young self, because this book is everythiiiing.
Beautifully executed queer content, a training story that doesn't rely on backstabbing fellow students for drama, textile magic, and gorgeous art.
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Artist, writer, lover of fine comics (and some pretty trashy ones too). I grew up in Kansas and now call Germany home, and I’m dedicated to filling the world with queer and diverse stories.