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The Deep & Dark Blue

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  107 ratings  ·  39 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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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  107 ratings  ·  39 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 ‘
Lisa (Remarkablylisa)
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: december-2019

Full review to come.
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.
Niki Smith
May 07, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: books-i-m-in
My new book...!
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.
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.
Melanie Gillman
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An engaging fantasy book with magic, political intrigue, and gorgeous artwork! Recommended.
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Huge thank you to Hachette Book Group Canada for this ARC!

The Deep & Dark Blue is a graphic novel that tells the story of Hawke and Grayson, who have to flee a politic coup. In order to survive, the two take on the identities of Hanna and Grayce. while seeking shelter, they come across the Communion of Blue, an order of magical women who have the ability to manipulate reality and bend its will. With the help of the Communion of Blue, the twins begin to hatch a plan to save their family's
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
Holly Hughes
Thank you to Hachette Book Group Canada for providing me with a physical ARC. This has not affected my review, which reflects my honest opinions.

"In spinning blue, we know our true selves...and we find and weave the patterns of the world."

I’m going to refrain from actually rating this for the time being, because graphic novels employ so many techniques to tell a story and several of these elements are, understandably, incomplete in the physical ARC. That said, I eagerly await the opportunity
I received an ARC of this book, which was extremely hard to review, because the artwork was so far from being finished. To make it worse, the ARC was in black and white, but the story revolves around color, especially blue.
Okay, so I can mostly ignore the art and focus on the story...which felt a little rushed and a lot weird. For instance, at the start of a major plot point, the main characters are young enough that it is apparently easy to disguise the fact that they are boys. A few weeks
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
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
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
Melissa Anderson
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I recieved this arc from Hachette Canada in exchange for an honest review.

This was such a lovely trans graphic novel about family, politics and magic. The story follows twins Hawke and Grayson as their cousin perfroms a coup, killing their grandfather and pinning it on Reyson, the heir. Grayson and Hawke escape by joing the the Communion of Blue as new initiates. Disguised as girls they learn new skills and more about the Communion. Grayson becomes Grayce, chosen to be a spinner, she learns that
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 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I fell in love with the debut middle grade novel by Niki Smith. The artwork is stunning (although my one complaint is the ARC isn't in color so I can't wait to see a finished copy) but the story is even better. Hawke and Grayson are twins that are hiding from an evil family member after she stages a coup to take over the family house. In order to find proof of her crimes the twins seek refuge in the females only Communion of Blue (think a more inclusive, more spiritual nunnery). As they try to ...more
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This delightful book follows two twins as their lives are turned upside-down. When a traitorous plot puts their lives in danger, they take on new identities and join a cloistered order of young women. While they learn sacred skills and magics, they await the right time to reveal themselves, but end up revealing something else entirely.
The adventure and world-building will leave you entranced even after you've finished reading.
I hope to see more from this author and more from this world!
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely enjoyed this graphic novel! A little bit of magic, a little bit of politics, and the story of two brothers, Hawke and Grayce, and accepting who you are - even if that is deferment from what people around you expect of you. The ending is so touching!

This is a fun middle-grade graphic novel and I cannot wait to see the final book in full color!
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!
I wouldn't compare it to Korra, honestly, but it does draw on some elemental magics and it definitely has great things with with to draw comparisons to Witch Boy.

It's got gorgeous art, intricate story telling, direly twisty stabs of angst and drama, well-arranged noble intrigue, and a fabulous story of self-discovery and acceptance.

It was great!
Was offered the ARC by a friend, so I have not seen the finished product, but even the ARC is amazing, and I'm sure my few concerns about confusing spreads will be resolved by the addition of colour! This is an incredible, wonderful trans youth graphic novel, as well as a really good adventure fantasy one. Yay Nikki Smith!
Sarah Yung
Oct 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Hmm, this one about 2.5 stars for me, but I don't want to skew the rating!

It's cute, just not super original as far as fantasies go; I would've liked it to have a bit more worldbuilding. Some of the proportions were also a tad iffy, but maybe that will be fixed in the final.
Gina Carra
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: trans, lgbtq
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.
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.
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.
Amie McCracken
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
I was completely and totally sucked in and can't wait to go back through the magnificent artwork a second and third time! The world is so wonderfully rich and I love Grayce and Hawke so very much. Though Calia is my favorite character. She's so dang perceptive yet gentle.
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 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
I love the message of the story and the art, but it just feels like it rushes through everything too fast. There could have been a bit more character and story development and a bit less scenery and location 'shots.'
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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.