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Tower of Treasure: Three Thieves, Book One

Review

Tower of Treasure: Three Thieves, Book One

written and illustrated by Scott Chantler

Orphaned Dessa is an acrobat in a traveling circus, but her real purpose in traveling is to look for her kidnapped brother. When the circus arrives at the royal city, she begins to hope that here she will finally find the answers she’s been looking for. But when Topper, the circus’s juggler, gets it into his head to steal the Queen’s treasure, Dessa and Fisk, the strongman, are caught up in his wake. Soon all three are in deeper water than ever before, and Dessa’s search becomes the only thing that may answer new and disturbing questions.

Scott Chantler, Eisner-nominated creator of titles such as NORTHWEST PASSAGE and DAYS LIKE THIS (both from Oni Press), joins Kids Can Press for this full-color, fantasy/adventure tale. Even though this is the first volume of a new series, Chantler hits the ground running. The action scene on the cover is a good match for the action-packed story. He doesn’t waste too much time talking when his characters could be doing something, choosing instead to show the needed back elements as the story progresses. That makes this title a good choice for fans of adventure stories, especially as the fantasy elements are mild and unlikely to turn off those readers who sneer at wizards and the like. But the medieval-like setting is fantasy enough, especially with the addition of non-human characters, to satisfy fantasy fans as well. The characters are likable, even the thieving Topper, and Dessa is a believably resilient main character, tomboy enough for both boy and girl readers.

The colors are a beautiful and effective part of the story. They shift as needed, making the setting come alive, whether the characters are standing outside in full daylight or skulking through a tower lit only by torchlight. Dessa’s red hair, freckles and athletic build are refreshingly realistic, and other characters are brought to life with simple touches: the circus’s bearded lady, the fat Queen’s wart, the conflicted Captain of the Guard with his eye patch and scar. Chantler is a master at using his panels to pace his story. Even in an action story such as this, he has no fear of stretching a scene out over multiple panels, making minute changes in each one as the scene progresses. This allows for the humor of the story to shine through or for the action to take on an immediacy that propels the reader along.

Though this first volume is mostly about laying the groundwork for the books to come, Chantler does such a wonderful job of building his tale that readers will be thrilled with the first book and eager for the next. This is a nice book to suggest to fans of Jeff Smith’s Bone series (from Scholastic/GRAPHIX) as it has a similar sensibility and tone, while still standing firmly on its own two feet.

Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith on August 1, 2010

Tower of Treasure: Three Thieves, Book One
written and illustrated by Scott Chantler

  • Publication Date: August 1, 2010
  • Genres: Graphic Novel
  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Kids Can Press
  • ISBN-10: 1554534143
  • ISBN-13: 9781554534142