Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
March 01, 2022
Buy This Book
A young girl must stop a threat to her magical world in this epic graphic novel from New York Times bestselling author Marjorie Liu and remarkable debut illustrator Teny Issakhanian.
Zuli is extraordinary—she just doesn’t realize it yet. Raised by mystical bird spirits in the branches of the Great Tree, she’s never ventured beyond this safe haven. She’s never had to. Until now.

When a sinister force threatens the life-giving magic of the tree, Zuli, along with her guardian owl, Frowly, must get to the root of it. So begins an adventure bigger than anything Zuli could’ve ever imagined—one that will bring her, along with some newfound friends, face-to-face with an ancient dragon, the so-called Witch-Queen, and most surprisingly of all: her true identity.

This captivating middle grade graphic novel, the first of a series, is perfect for fans of the Amulet books and the Wings of Fire series.

Editor review

1 review
Fantasy Graphic NOvel
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Zuli was orphaned as an infant and is being raised by birds and the bird spirits in the Great Tree. It's an idyllic life, and she gets to watch as the spirits of birds who have died reappear as leaves and then venture forth to be reborn. When no bird spirits seem to be leaving and the leaves on the dry are shriveled and brown, the community worries. Reluctantly, it is agreed that Zuli should venture forth into the real world to see what is happening. The owl, Frowly, accompanies her. The other world is destroyed, with wreckage everywhere. Zuli is attacked, but saved by Orien. Frowly is leery of their new friend, since he is a goblin, but he offers to take the two to the Nainai of his people to try to find out what is going on. Zuli, whose bracelet marks her as a special member of a long lost people. She is also being hunted by a Witch-Queen, who is sending all manner of dastardly creatures after her. Zuli holds her own, keeping her quest to find out what is happening with the birds foremost in her mind despite all of the obstacles the new world throws at her. Will she be able to survive giant spiders, dragons, and wraith-like creatures in order to put the bird world to rights? Another book is needed to finish this story!
Good Points
This was a great, philosophical fantasy adventure about existence and identity, offset by plenty of action and adventure. Zuli is an appealing character who loves her world enough to leave in order to save it. This has all of the good parts of a hero's quest story, and Zuli bravely travels all over the unaccustomed world, gathering supporters, following clues, and finding out secrets about her own past. The illustrations are bright, with heavily saturated colors that really make the scenes pop, and the facial expressions on the characters add a lot to the story. There is still a lot we need to find out, so I assume a sequel is in the works.

Frowly looked a bit like... Archimedes from Disney's The Sword and the Stone? I couldn't quite pin it down, but I've had some interesting conversations with students about the resemblance to another cartoon owl! Also, Orien didn't look like a goblin, but more like Malificent from Sleeping Beauty. I wonder if these are small tributes to other fairy tale fantasy stories.

It's great to see a wider variety of genres and stories in graphic novels. This will be appreciated by fans of Amulet, Aldridge's Estranged, and Stevenson's Nimona.
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