Barb and the Ghost Blade (Barb the Last Berzerker #2)

Barb and the Ghost Blade (Barb the Last Berzerker #2)
Author(s)
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
8+
Release Date
May 31, 2022
ISBN
978-1534485747
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Barb is a Berzerker, part of an elite crew of warriors who protect the land of Bailiwick from the scourge of monsters. The evil Witch Head has captured all the adult Berzerkers and Barb’s the only one who can save them. But she’s not alone—Barb’s got her own amateur crew of would-be zerks, made up of farmers, monsters, and her best pal Porkchop the yeti.

This ragtag gang must infiltrate Maug Horn, the monster capital where only monsters are allowed, and find Franny Fire Fingers, who they hope will lead them to the Wise Wizards and the power to fight Witch Head. But when even the powerful Shadow Blade sword is no match for the evil Barb encounters, she must learn that her true power comes from her own heart.

Editor review

1 review
Barb kicks butt!
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
4.0
What worked:
This is the second book in the series but it can be read independently. Barb is human but can raise her berzerker powers to become a devastating warrior. She’s accompanied by several loyal creature characters, including her closet friend, a yeti named Porkchop. You can read the first book if you’re curious about how they first met. Barb hears the legend of a Ghost Blade that most berzerkers believe to be a myth that supposedly makes the person invincible. She already carries the Shadow Blade from book one, but it’s coveted by the book’s antagonist.
Barb receives a vision from her deceased mother saying she must find someone called Franny Flame Fingers who can summon the Wise Wizards. They will be needed to stop Witch Head from destroying Bailiwick. The rest of the plot tells of Barb’s exciting adventure to fulfill this quest. In this world, monsters and humans are enemies and berzerkers are especially hated by the monsters. However, Barb is able to display empathy for monsters in the first book, so she may be the character to end the conflict. Her efforts are complicated since all the other berzerkers had their minds controlled by Witch Head in the previous book.
The illustrations in this graphic novel and the added humor, some of it crude, are sure to entertain young readers. Using colorful illustrations for fight scenes and time changes helps the plot move briskly without unneeded descriptions. Porkchop has a fear of spiders, a giant is easily offended, and the characters exchange playful banter throughout. Some scenes are amusing simply because of the situations or the idea that monsters are involved. A disguised Barb finds a belt she likes in the middle of a city she was forbidden to enter, and the yeti wants her to visit his favorite BBQ joint in the same city.
What didn’t work as well:
I’m not crazy about how the book ended at a climactic point in the story. The lack of words limits the author’s ability to fully develop characters’ personalities or to describe events, but that’s normally to be expected with graphic novels. However, it makes this book an easy, entertaining read for readers and reluctant readers alike.
The Final Verdict:
Barb kicks butt! The series moves briskly for young readers, and Barb displays an admirable sense of tolerance and understanding toward her “enemies”. The light-hearted, but tender, interactions between the characters make it easy for readers to become engrossed in the plot. I recommend you give this book a shot and suggest you read “Barb the Last Berzerker!” too.
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