Review by Ian Keogh
Juniper Mae is a young inventor in the futuristic city of Tykotech. It’s a place so modern that much has been forgotten about the old world, and much has come to be regarded as myths. Because the city is independently powered there’s no need to ever leave it, but when Juni’s jetpack misfires outside the city limits she’s introduced to world of wonder the like of which she could never have conceived, one where people live without technology.
Sarah Soh transmits that sense of wonder in what’s a combination of storybook pages featuring captions and accompanying illustrations, and pages of straightforward comics. What unites both is the eye-catching artistic detail. When Juni is first taken to Albi’s woodland village there’s a stunning panorama, packed with life and energy, the type of delightful illustration to captivate young readers and have them imagine about living there. While at the village Juni learns of protectors from earlier days, the Guardian Knights, whom the legends say will return when they’re most needed, and by midway the city could surely do with some help as all its energy is being stolen.
This is a simple story with almost all the wonder in the telling rather than the plot. Younger readers will be captivated by Juni’s positive character from the start, thrill to her inventions and dive right into the woodland community, while the danger is set at a level to thrill without scaring. This is planned as the first of a series, with the seeds sown here for the sequel.