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The Deep & Dark Blue

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  1,528 ratings  ·  321 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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EpicReader8 No kissing. Someone is murdered but not too graphically, someone else dies peacefully. Twins bathe together and you see them shirtless (both biologica…moreNo kissing. Someone is murdered but not too graphically, someone else dies peacefully. Twins bathe together and you see them shirtless (both biologically male), nothing sexual.(less)

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Average rating 4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,528 ratings  ·  321 reviews

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Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)

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 ‘H
Feb 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, graphic_novel
This is a gorgeous little graphic novel with a beautiful, trans affirming message. When a violent military coup kills twin brothers Hawke and Grayson's Grandfather and their cousin who was next in line for the throne. Knowing they too will be executed by their military-leader cousin in order for her to take the throne, they flee and disguise themselves as girls to hide out in the training school of a women-run religion as Hanna and Grayce. This group uses spinning to weave the fabric of the univ ...more
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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 m ...more
Niki Smith
May 07, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: books-i-m-in
My new book...!
This was such a wholesome middlegrade graphic novel!
Rod Brown
A nice fantasy with a LGBTQ+ twist. After a violent coup in their noble house, heirs and identical twins Hawke and Grayson go into hiding, dressing as girls to join a magical religious order. While going about their daily lives as initiates, one is wholly focused on righting the injustice while the other is also coming to terms with inner truths and the direction they want their life to take.

Telling the twins apart can be difficult unless you pay close attention to their earrings.

The mandatory a
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. ...more
This was a fun middle grade fantasy graphic novel about two siblings caught up in a political coup. Both are assigned male, and escape and hide themselves as new initiates in The Communion of Blue, a women-only communal society with sacred duties. When they are given the opportunity to avenge the wrongs done to their house, one is eager to get back to his old life and the other wants to stay in the life she knows is for her. Nice trans storyline, good but not great art, could have used some more ...more
Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard

I loved the message to this but it felt like there was a disconnect between a lot of the panels and what the panels were supposed to be showing me. I felt a bit lost in a few places. The illustrations were beautiful but they didn't totally line up quite right.

Rep: transgender

Quick question, though: why do all the stories about men-only institutions and girls disguising themselves as boys condemn the men-only rule and advocate for accessibility to all genders, but anything with women-only institutions portrays them as just super duper all around? Why shouldn’t guys get to weave and spin and dye and study if they want to? What if it was Hawke who wanted to stay with the Communion, who felt like it was his real home, and they were like, “😬 Sorry, gir
Lisa (Remarkablylisa)
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: december-2019

Full review to come.
May 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is such a great middle grade graphic novel! It's got great world-building, beautiful illustrations, amazing characters, and such a thrilling storyline! I honestly love everything about it and have no complaints. The magic system is so interesting, and there is political intrigue, a trans main character, and a found family aspect! I love it so much!

Content Warnings
Graphic: Deadnaming
Moderate: Death, Violence, and Blood
Aug 03, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, graphic-novels
I loved the art and the affirming message of The Deep & Dark Blue. The plot had a lot of action in it, which made for a fun and fast read. My biggest complaint was that I didn't feel much of a connection with either Hawke or Grayce. More time is spent on the story than on character development and I would've loved a bit more about both of our main characters. I still enjoyed The Deep & Dark Blue and will definitely be recommending it to my friends who teach middle schoolers.

C/W:(view spoiler)
Mar 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed the message of acceptance and being true to yourself, as well as the character arcs of the twins, but the world building and magic system seemed a bit mythological and vague rather than fully explained.

I liked the drawing style and color scheme, but with all the initiates having the same hairstyle and uniform, half the time I wasn’t sure which twin (until you see their hair) or which character (until their name is stated)....

A bit brief for a standalone, so hopefully there’s a sequel w
May 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
I loved this. The colors and world were great, the drama and conflict perfect for its intent and audience. The handling of queer intricacies, delightfully positive and uplifting without ever being the defining characteristic.
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. ...more
Reta Anna Maria
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, lgbtq
This was really sweet! I clearly love warm-hearted stories made for middle-graders. Good old Disney-vibes with LGBT characters, what's more to ask? ...more
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!
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
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.
Dec 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This deserves the hype that the dressmaker one got 😭 4.5/5
Apr 13, 2021 rated it liked it
Popsugar 2021: A book with a family tree

And the family tree has quite a bit to do with the story! In this middle-grade book, the Communion of Blue, an order of women, "spins blue" to create magic. On the run from their murderous, usurping cousin Mirelle, young twins Hawke and Grayson disguise themselves as girls to be taken in as initiates and hide while planning their next move after Mirelle kills their grandfather and their uncle. Spinning and weaving is magic, and Hanna and Grayce (as they na
I really enjoyed this one! It was an interesting and well-done mix between a "revenge against a plotting evil relative" action adventure and a "secrets in the cloister/monastery-slash-coming of age and claiming your true identity" heartfelt tale.

Extra bonus points at this time in history for handling the storyline of the trans MC very well. (Hopefully that will just end up being the norm, and YA is definitely at the vanguard of good representation!)
Eva B.
So cute!! I'd definitely recommend this to fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender; while I'm not too far into the show, the vibes are similar. I loved the contrast between Grayce and Hawke, and the magic system was interesting. ...more
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt, 2020, recs-for-rose
this is definitely one of my favorite graphic novels ever... maybe my favorite mg graphic novel!!! my heart is so full 🥺💙
Peoria Public Library
Jul 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel, 2021, lgbtq
Spencer rated it 4 stars.
Gabi A
May 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
There were a few squirrely plot points and some things near the end felt rushed and/or forced, but the things I loved about this story I REALLY loved. The family relationships and tragedies got me in my feels and the magic was very cool (wish there was more) and all in all a fun adventure story with some delightful depth of self-discovery. Great artwork and coloring and very effective panel pacing in-scene for emotional impact. This could have very easily been a great start to a series, actually ...more
Feb 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A LOT happened in so little, and the ending was beautiful 💕💕💕

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 violently o
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Artist, writer, lover of fine comics (and some pretty trashy ones too). Niki Smith grew up in Kansas and now calls Germany home, and is dedicated to filling the world with queer and diverse stories.

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