Barb the Last Berzerker #1

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Barb the Last Berzerker #1
Age Range
8+
Release Date
September 28, 2021
ISBN
978-1534485716
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Barb is a Berzerker, one of a group of warriors sworn to protect the land of Bailiwick from the scourge of monsters that plagues it. But the fearsome crew seem to have met their match in the nefarious Witch Head. Using power from his magical sword, he tricked the Zerks and took them captive. Only Barb was able to escape—and she took Witch Head’s Shadow Blade with her.

Now it’s up to Barb to free her fellow warriors so they can stop Witch Head from taking over Bailiwick. On the way, she’ll battle vampire goat fiends, snot goblins, and a giant with serious foot odor issues (but don’t mention that to him—he’s very sensitive about it). Luckily, she’s got her best friend, Porkchop the yeti, to help her.

But the power of the Shadow Blade has a mind of its own, and the deeper Barb gets into her quest, the harder it is to keep the blade’s awesome power under control.

Editor review

1 review
Great heroes come in different sizes
Overall rating
 
4.5
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
5.0
What worked:
Berzerkers are from Norse mythology, and they were said to go into a wild, killing frenzy during battles. Contrast that description with Barb, a smallish girl wanting to become a brave warrior. The prologue finds her friends captured by Witch Head, while Barb retrieves the legendary Shadow Blade. Barb is able to summon its powers and transform into a Berserker, although she becomes exhausted after the energy wears off. The rest of the book describes her quest to locate the Northern Zerks, so they can help with rescuing her friends. Barb has several mini-adventures along the way, and she shares the tale of how she met her sidekick, Porkchop the blue yeti. The plot offers twists, turns, and surprises that keep the whole book entertaining.
Barb’s character is brave, virtuous, and loyal, and she is an admirable main character. Berzerkers are meant to fight and kill monsters, but that’s not in her nature. Sure, she battles them when it’s called for, but she has empathy for many of her enemies. She tries to understand them and show them compassion, and her character finds some of her foes aren’t that bad. Just like humans, not all monsters are evil, and some of them can become friends and allies.
The book is full of humor and gross descriptions that might offend some readers. Young readers will surely love it! Barb and Porkchop face vampire goats, mergoblins, snot goblins, and the grub of death. Porkchop is constantly hungry, although he often lets out loud burps and sometimes can’t keep food in his stomach. Barb first meets Porkchop after he steals all of the sausages, even the kielbasa, from a peddler. They later have a pillow fight before their first night sleeping in actual beds. The dialogue includes witty comments from characters that add to the amusement. When Barb speaks directly to readers, she wonders when she started talking to herself.
What didn’t work as well:
The graphic novel doesn’t provide detailed storytelling and relies on pictures to fill in some of the gaps. The dialogue offers a general description of the plot, but it doesn’t have time to include specifics of the events or to fully develop character relationships. An underlying story with Barb’s mother adds some depth to the story. An exciting adventure enhanced by colorful illustrations and characters is the charm that attracts lovers of graphic novels.
The final verdict:
Great heroes come in different sizes. Overall, Barb’s character and her quest to save others create a delightful and perilous story. The illustrations creatively contribute to an eventful journey that will entertain young readers. It’s highly recommended that you read this first book in an exciting new series.
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