Kasumi opens her eyes, but no matter how surreal and impossible the waking world seems, it’s not a nightmare she can escape from.

The Medusa virus, an illness that quickly and painfully killed the infected by turning them into stone, was sweeping across the globe, and a few infected chosen were placed in suspended animation to be awakened only when a cure was found. Heartbroken at leaving her beloved twin behind, Kasumi was one of the selected — but when she wakes up, there is no cure and no help. A jungle has enveloped the facility and creatures resembling dinosaurs are the only living creatures roaming the halls. Haywire electronics have caused her and her fellow sleepers to be revived, but with monsters set on their destruction and a world so altered, the survivors need to think quickly to survive, let alone speculate on what has happened or where they can go from here.

What has happened to humanity? Is hope an option, or is it dangerous? With the Medusa virus reactivated inside their bodies, they have precious little time to solve the riddle they’ve discovered. While the remaining few have to work together, circumstances reveal the best and worst of humanity — from people who bribed their way into the project to those who will do anything, include sacrificing everyone else, to survive. Iwahara’s character design may seem at first glance almost too cute for such a serious dilemma, but her ability to create engaging action sequences and terrifying monsters and still illuminate each character’s emotions, from greed to horror to determination, proves that she is more then capable of knocking your socks off artistically.

This is one heck of an opening for a series, and while a few answers are within sight, with every new answer comes a pile of new questions. If you like mysteries like Lost, this suspenseful survival tale is for you.

King of Thorn, vol. 1
By Yuji Iwahara
ISBN: 9781598162356
Tokyopop, 2007

  • Robin B.

    | She/Her Teen Librarian, Public Library of Brookline

    Editor in Chief

    Robin E. Brenner is Teen Librarian at the Brookline Public Library in Massachusetts. She has chaired the American Library Association Great Graphic Novels for Teens Selection List Committee, the Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee, and served on the Michael L. Printz Award Committee. She is currently the President of the Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table for ALA. She was a judge for the 2007 Eisner awards, helped judge the Boston Globe Horn Book Awards in 2011, and contributes to the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. She regularly gives lectures and workshops on graphic novels, manga, and anime at comics conventions including New York and San Diego Comic-Con and at the American Library Association’s conferences. Her guide, Understanding Manga and Anime (Libraries Unlimited, 2007), was nominated for a 2008 Eisner Award.

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