The Deep & Dark Blue
After a terrible political coup usurps their noble house, Hawke and Grayson flee to stay alive and assume new identities, Hanna and Grayce. Desperation and chance lead them to the Communion of Blue, an order of magical women who spin the threads of reality to their will.As the twins learn more about the Communion, and themselves, they begin to hatch a plan to avenge their family and retake their royal home.While Hawke wants to return to his old life, Grayce struggles to keep the threads of her new life from unraveling, and realizes she wants to stay in the one place that will allow her to finally live as a girl.

The Deep & Dark Blue Details

TitleThe Deep & Dark Blue
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 7th, 2020
PublisherLittle, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN-139780316486019
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Sequential Art, Graphic Novels, Fantasy, LGBT, GLBT, Queer

The Deep & Dark Blue Review

  • Lola
    January 1, 1970
    This is a hard one to review. I received an advance copy of this book, and while the final copy is supposed to be in full colour, there was no colour in my copy and half of the book had unfinished illustrations. So my experience with the advance copy and your experience with the finished copy will be undoubtedly different.But because the illustrations weren’t at their best, I focused my attention more on the characters and dialog. The dialog is on point. Not too much of it and not too little of This is a hard one to review. I received an advance copy of this book, and while the final copy is supposed to be in full colour, there was no colour in my copy and half of the book had unfinished illustrations. So my experience with the advance copy and your experience with the finished copy will be undoubtedly different.But because the illustrations weren’t at their best, I focused my attention more on the characters and dialog. The dialog is on point. Not too much of it and not too little of it. The main characters, Hawke and Grayson, are likeable. The best part about the plot is Hawke and Grayson dressing up as girls to infiltrate a group of girls that spin magical thread. The world building is, however, kind of vague. The story line isn’t hard to follow, since it’s pretty straightforward even if we don’t always understand the characters’ intentions. But I’m not sure how the Communion of Blue came into existence and why it’s named that way. I also don’t know anything about the other noble houses. It’s an empowering story, though, with a beautiful message about being one’s true self without fear of being rejected by the ones we love. I enjoyed reading it, even if it didn’t wow me. Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’
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  • Tucker
    January 1, 1970
    Many thanks to Little Brown Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest reviewPhew. When I picked this graphic novel up, I did not expect it to be so hard hitting. Especially for a middle grade novel. This fantasy graphic novel follows Hawke and Grayson after they evade being killed by their evil cousin. To evade capture, they disguise themselves as girls and join the Communion of Blue. As they come up with their next steps, Hawke and Grayson—Now using the aliases ‘ Many thanks to Little Brown Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest reviewPhew. When I picked this graphic novel up, I did not expect it to be so hard hitting. Especially for a middle grade novel. This fantasy graphic novel follows Hawke and Grayson after they evade being killed by their evil cousin. To evade capture, they disguise themselves as girls and join the Communion of Blue. As they come up with their next steps, Hawke and Grayson—Now using the aliases ‘Hanna’ and ‘Grayce’—stay in the Communion of Blue. While Hawke is itching to leave, Grayce doesn’t. She wants to stay in the one place that will allow her to live as a girl. I really did love the graphic novel. It was gorgeous and fascinating. It also weaved in the Grayce’s exploration of her gender into the novel perfectly. There were some great moments, some that even made me cry. My only problem with this was the world building. As beautiful as the art was and as amazing as the story was, the world building was that much worse. I really like the idea of the Communion of Blue and the idea of the magical thread but it wasn’t explored at all. If there is a sequel (and I really hope there will be), I’d love to see this explained in greater detail. Overall, this graphic novel was beautiful and (mostly) well written! Bottom Line:➵ 4.5 Stars➵ Age Rating - [ PG ]➵ Content Screening (Mild Spoilers)➵ Positive Messages (4/5) - [Familial love, Self love, Gender acceptance]➵ Violence (4/5) - [Characters are shot, stabbed, etc.]➵ Sex (0/0)➵ Language (0/0)➵ Drinking/Drugs (0/0)Trigger and Content Warnings - Gender dysphoria, Violence, Loss of a loved onePublication Date: January 7th, 2020Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young ReadersGenre: Middle Grade/Fantasy----------4.5 stars! That one was a tear jerker! Review to come!| Goodreads | Blog | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram
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  • Lisa (Remarkablylisa)
    January 1, 1970
    I REALLY ENJOYED THIS GRAPHIC NOVEL??? IT HAD SO MUCH REPRESENTATION AND IT WAS FAST AND LOVELY.Full review to come.
  • Dahlia
    January 1, 1970
    Really charming trans graphic novel. This is only the second graphic novel I've ever read so I'm still getting used to processing story lines in that format and can't really comment on any of that (especially because I read an ARC with no color, and I think color would've helped me differentiate between characters better), but I loved the trans storyline and lbr that's what I was there for.
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  • Niki Smith
    January 1, 1970
    My new book...!
  • Raven Black
    January 1, 1970
    A few weak spots in story line. But interesting, longer graphic novel of gender identity, family and politics.
  • Ardent
    January 1, 1970
    A trans protagonist, some light trope reversals, and pretty art made for a good read. I would enjoy reading more about these twins, and the Communion of the Blue.
  • Melanie Gillman
    January 1, 1970
    An engaging fantasy book with magic, political intrigue, and gorgeous artwork! Recommended.
  • Sam
    January 1, 1970
    Huge thank you to Hachette Book Group Canada for this ARC!The Deep & Dark Blue is a graphic novel that tells the story of Hawke and Grayson, who have to flee a politic coup. In order to survive, the two take on the identities of Hanna and Grayce. while seeking shelter, they come across the Communion of Blue, an order of magical women who have the ability to manipulate reality and bend its will. With the help of the Communion of Blue, the twins begin to hatch a plan to save their family's Huge thank you to Hachette Book Group Canada for this ARC!The Deep & Dark Blue is a graphic novel that tells the story of Hawke and Grayson, who have to flee a politic coup. In order to survive, the two take on the identities of Hanna and Grayce. while seeking shelter, they come across the Communion of Blue, an order of magical women who have the ability to manipulate reality and bend its will. With the help of the Communion of Blue, the twins begin to hatch a plan to save their family's name and and reclaim their royal heritage. I loved this story. Hanna and Gracye are wonderful and well fleshed out. Their desire to protect their family home, while working through their personal identities, makes for fantastic storytelling. Given the coup that has destroyed their family and forced them apart, it's easy to empathize with Hanna and Gracye. There is also a story about transition in The Deep & Dark Blue that is both simple, but effectively portrayed. I truly loved Gracye's character so much.While the ARC was in black and white, I am excited to see what the finished product looks like. I think those who love Faith Erin Hick's stories will easily find The Deep & Dark Blue to be right up their alley. This is a fantastic story about family, identity, and what it means to survive in a time of oppression.
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  • Kim
    January 1, 1970
    Genderqueer person here. I *loved* this. I really hope there's eventually a whole middle reader series based on this world, and Hawke, and Grayce. I would also like an Into the Spiderverse style movie, please.Deep & Dark Blue is an adventure with a martyr, an usurper who commits murder of a family member for power, magical weaving of lineage tapestries, gender-split identical twins, and a number of loving, accepting real deal allies. None of the awful trans narrative stuff like being Genderqueer person here. I *loved* this. I really hope there's eventually a whole middle reader series based on this world, and Hawke, and Grayce. I would also like an Into the Spiderverse style movie, please.Deep & Dark Blue is an adventure with a martyr, an usurper who commits murder of a family member for power, magical weaving of lineage tapestries, gender-split identical twins, and a number of loving, accepting real deal allies. None of the awful trans narrative stuff like being violently outted, rejected, etc. that have disappointed me in other adjacent graphic novels. There is some misgendering, but it struck me as a-ha and teachable moments, nothing intentionally malicious.I am a white queer reader who was raised in Kansas. The author is a white queer reader who was raised in Kansas. Neither of us live there anymore. The characters aren't white, so I think it's important to look for queer reviewers of color to make sure white reviewers didn't glaze over something cringeworthy.
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  • Holly Hughes
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Hachette Book Group Canada for providing me with a physical ARC. This has not affected my review, which reflects my honest opinions. "In spinning blue, we know our true selves...and we find and weave the patterns of the world." I’m going to refrain from actually rating this for the time being, because graphic novels employ so many techniques to tell a story and several of these elements are, understandably, incomplete in the physical ARC. That said, I eagerly await the opportunity Thank you to Hachette Book Group Canada for providing me with a physical ARC. This has not affected my review, which reflects my honest opinions. "In spinning blue, we know our true selves...and we find and weave the patterns of the world." I’m going to refrain from actually rating this for the time being, because graphic novels employ so many techniques to tell a story and several of these elements are, understandably, incomplete in the physical ARC. That said, I eagerly await the opportunity to pick up a finished copy when The Deep & Dark Blue publishes in early January.I have loved what I’ve seen so far, and I definitely think this is a story that will further benefit from the full colour illustrations. The style of illustration is beautiful even in black and white, with a good balance of diverse designs when it comes to layouts of the page spreads. "There have always been girls who’ve found their way to us...and there always will be." In a nutshell: I could have done with a little more exposition to establish the world. But, what’s more important here is that Niki Smith has crafted an absolutely charming and heartfelt story of family, identity, love, and acceptance. I adore the trans representation, and I think the medium of a graphic novel will make it incredibly accessible to the book’s target audience.(I also may definitely have had the hugest smile on my face reading those last few pages)
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  • Nick
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book, which was extremely hard to review, because the artwork was so far from being finished. To make it worse, the ARC was in black and white, but the story revolves around color, especially blue.Okay, so I can mostly ignore the art and focus on the story...which felt a little rushed and a lot weird. For instance, at the start of a major plot point, the main characters are young enough that it is apparently easy to disguise the fact that they are boys. A few weeks I received an ARC of this book, which was extremely hard to review, because the artwork was so far from being finished. To make it worse, the ARC was in black and white, but the story revolves around color, especially blue.Okay, so I can mostly ignore the art and focus on the story...which felt a little rushed and a lot weird. For instance, at the start of a major plot point, the main characters are young enough that it is apparently easy to disguise the fact that they are boys. A few weeks later, one of them needs to shave.Also, in a world where there is magic that does things like make obvious displays of things like who the heir to a family is, how did no one look at the archived tapestry to verify this information, in a case where an unscheduled heir is coming to the throne? Really, it seemed like the kind of thing you'd do, based on the story.That said, the finished artwork should be good enough to make it readable, and maybe even more than that.
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  • Austin Gullett
    January 1, 1970
    This graphic novel accomplished SO MUCH in such few plot points. The plot really just chugs along, we don’t get particularly bogged down in political or magic systems, BUT they are both front and center in the story. They are presented as if we are familiar and we are left to unwind and interpret them as we go, and I think that that is a major strength here. It makes the world very believable, and I would read a sequel in a heartbeat.There are many characters, but it’s really a story about a This graphic novel accomplished SO MUCH in such few plot points. The plot really just chugs along, we don’t get particularly bogged down in political or magic systems, BUT they are both front and center in the story. They are presented as if we are familiar and we are left to unwind and interpret them as we go, and I think that that is a major strength here. It makes the world very believable, and I would read a sequel in a heartbeat.There are many characters, but it’s really a story about a pair of siblings learning that their lives will take different paths. It’s 50% a coming out story (a VERY positive and empowering one), 50% a fantasy political drama, and the two halves merge into a very effective whole. Hawke and Grayce are sweet babies, and I would love to read more about their world now that we’ve been introduced to their characters.
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  • Katie Lawrence
    January 1, 1970
    This was a lovely, inclusive book! I love Grayce and Hawke as characters and I found the Communion of Blue to be really intriguing. I did wish there was a bit more of an explanation of spinning blue, the powers that seems to imbue in the spinner etc. It was hard for me to understand all that Grayce was able to do. Other than that though, this was a wonderful story! Grayson is able to find her true self with the Communion and embraces her new identity and name of Grayce. I loved the easy way that This was a lovely, inclusive book! I love Grayce and Hawke as characters and I found the Communion of Blue to be really intriguing. I did wish there was a bit more of an explanation of spinning blue, the powers that seems to imbue in the spinner etc. It was hard for me to understand all that Grayce was able to do. Other than that though, this was a wonderful story! Grayson is able to find her true self with the Communion and embraces her new identity and name of Grayce. I loved the easy way that Niki Smith portrayed her transition and showed acceptance from other characters. I'm hoping there is another book that delves into Grayce's work with the Communion! I also loved the art style, it reminded me a bit of Manga with the facial expressions, and the coloring, especially the layers of blue, was lovely.
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  • Cy
    January 1, 1970
    a very cool, very original fantasy with a trans mc!! i'm obsessed with the colors, they're so rich and beautiful. the weaving magic was very cool--a little confusing because it isn't explained super well, but that didn't bother me too much. it's just magic. there's some political intrigue and a fun boarding-school type of vibe, complete with sorting ceremony. love those. my main complaint about the book is that i wanted more--a little more explanation, and some more time with the characters. it a very cool, very original fantasy with a trans mc!! i'm obsessed with the colors, they're so rich and beautiful. the weaving magic was very cool--a little confusing because it isn't explained super well, but that didn't bother me too much. it's just magic. there's some political intrigue and a fun boarding-school type of vibe, complete with sorting ceremony. love those. my main complaint about the book is that i wanted more--a little more explanation, and some more time with the characters. it felt like things happened very quickly, so it was hard to get a grasp of how much time had passed. also, i'd just like more from this universe!! the story is complete, but i'd love to read more about these characters.
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  • Donna
    January 1, 1970
    Twin boys Hawke and Grayson hide in the Communion of Blue, disguised as girls, after the murder of their relative who was next in line for their noble house.4.5 stars and the last hundred pages or so were definitely five! You frequently see 'girls disguised as boys' to make their way in the world but 'boys disguised as girls' is less often done. And this is done very well. Grayson, who goes by Grayce in the Communion, discovers that he really is she (Grayce is transgender). Seeing Grayce realize Twin boys Hawke and Grayson hide in the Communion of Blue, disguised as girls, after the murder of their relative who was next in line for their noble house.4.5 stars and the last hundred pages or so were definitely five! You frequently see 'girls disguised as boys' to make their way in the world but 'boys disguised as girls' is less often done. And this is done very well. Grayson, who goes by Grayce in the Communion, discovers that he really is she (Grayce is transgender). Seeing Grayce realize this, and be welcomed by the fellow women of the Communion, and watching her twin brother Hawke's eyes open - that was absolutely heart-warming. I would definitely read more books if this becomes a series.
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  • Melissa Anderson
    January 1, 1970
    I recieved this arc from Hachette Canada in exchange for an honest review.This was such a lovely trans graphic novel about family, politics and magic. The story follows twins Hawke and Grayson as their cousin perfroms a coup, killing their grandfather and pinning it on Reyson, the heir. Grayson and Hawke escape by joing the the Communion of Blue as new initiates. Disguised as girls they learn new skills and more about the Communion. Grayson becomes Grayce, chosen to be a spinner, she learns that I recieved this arc from Hachette Canada in exchange for an honest review.This was such a lovely trans graphic novel about family, politics and magic. The story follows twins Hawke and Grayson as their cousin perfroms a coup, killing their grandfather and pinning it on Reyson, the heir. Grayson and Hawke escape by joing the the Communion of Blue as new initiates. Disguised as girls they learn new skills and more about the Communion. Grayson becomes Grayce, chosen to be a spinner, she learns that this might just be her path. While Hawke(Hanna) is desperate to return to his old life. This was a wondeful story. A story about becoming who you are meant to be and surviving cruel situations. This book will be beautiful when it's finished and in full colour.
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  • Autumn
    January 1, 1970
    This was really enjoyable. It was fast-paced but still gave the twins room to explore who they are and what they want, and how they related to each other as one twin explored their true gender identity was lovely.I enjoyed the art style and use of color a lot, and while it took me several pages to pick up on, I appreciated the subtle way they used hair to differentiate between the twins. It really helped me keep them separate.The thing I wanted more of was background and world building. I am This was really enjoyable. It was fast-paced but still gave the twins room to explore who they are and what they want, and how they related to each other as one twin explored their true gender identity was lovely.I enjoyed the art style and use of color a lot, and while it took me several pages to pick up on, I appreciated the subtle way they used hair to differentiate between the twins. It really helped me keep them separate.The thing I wanted more of was background and world building. I am fascinated by the women of the Communion of Blue and how they function. I would have liked to get even more story and discovery around them.
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  • Teresa
    January 1, 1970
    I fell in love with the debut middle grade novel by Niki Smith. The artwork is stunning (although my one complaint is the ARC isn't in color so I can't wait to see a finished copy) but the story is even better. Hawke and Grayson are twins that are hiding from an evil family member after she stages a coup to take over the family house. In order to find proof of her crimes the twins seek refuge in the females only Communion of Blue (think a more inclusive, more spiritual nunnery). As they try to I fell in love with the debut middle grade novel by Niki Smith. The artwork is stunning (although my one complaint is the ARC isn't in color so I can't wait to see a finished copy) but the story is even better. Hawke and Grayson are twins that are hiding from an evil family member after she stages a coup to take over the family house. In order to find proof of her crimes the twins seek refuge in the females only Communion of Blue (think a more inclusive, more spiritual nunnery). As they try to figure out how to save their house, both twins will learn more about themselves as individuals that will change their futures forever. Thanks to Little Brown for the ARC!
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  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    What a wonderfully woven story! The Deep & Dark Blue is a tale about twin noble brothers out to save their family line and find their true identities. The story is exciting, heartwarming, and set in a beautiful world. The artwork is phenomenal and enriches the story further. This is a middle-grade book so I recommend it to preteens, or anyone who enjoys fantasy and adventure. I'm always happy to see more middle-grade books and love to support them! This is definitely a great example as to What a wonderfully woven story! The Deep & Dark Blue is a tale about twin noble brothers out to save their family line and find their true identities. The story is exciting, heartwarming, and set in a beautiful world. The artwork is phenomenal and enriches the story further. This is a middle-grade book so I recommend it to preteens, or anyone who enjoys fantasy and adventure. I'm always happy to see more middle-grade books and love to support them! This is definitely a great example as to why we need them. I look forward to reading more by Niki Smith.
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  • Jacki
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed the story and liked the art, though the use of pink/red around the characters' eyes made me worry that everyone had conjunctivitis. I wish the world-building had been stronger, though. We weave the fates and the winds! WTF does that mean, though? The fantasy elements were a backdrop/aesthetic and not integrated well into the action. Maybe a sequel will come along and explain more, though.
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  • Liz
    January 1, 1970
    This delightful book follows two twins as their lives are turned upside-down. When a traitorous plot puts their lives in danger, they take on new identities and join a cloistered order of young women. While they learn sacred skills and magics, they await the right time to reveal themselves, but end up revealing something else entirely.The adventure and world-building will leave you entranced even after you've finished reading.I hope to see more from this author and more from this world!
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  • christine engels
    January 1, 1970
    Really lovely art, story, and use of color. I wish the world & plot had been a bit more complex (I saw the shape of the story pretty easily from the beginning). But the shining strength of this book is a scene where a trans character is recognized & embraced for her true self that is just wonderfully done & had me in tears.
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  • Leann
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely enjoyed this graphic novel! A little bit of magic, a little bit of politics, and the story of two brothers, Hawke and Grayce, and accepting who you are - even if that is deferment from what people around you expect of you. The ending is so touching!This is a fun middle-grade graphic novel and I cannot wait to see the final book in full color!
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  • Phoebe
    January 1, 1970
    A wonderful story dabbling in, sword, sorcery, and self-discovery. The fast paced plot of avenging family is well timed and punctuated with a beautifully handled transgender narrative that had me getting teary and feeling deeply for Hawke and especially Grayce. Great art and great characters! The reviews of it hitting both notes of Korra and Witchboy are very accurate!
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  • Alex
    January 1, 1970
    I wouldn't compare it to Korra, honestly, but it does draw on some elemental magics and it definitely has great things with with to draw comparisons to Witch Boy.It's got gorgeous art, intricate story telling, direly twisty stabs of angst and drama, well-arranged noble intrigue, and a fabulous story of self-discovery and acceptance.It was great!
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  • Polly
    January 1, 1970
    Was offered the ARC by a friend, so I have not seen the finished product, but even the ARC is amazing, and I'm sure my few concerns about confusing spreads will be resolved by the addition of colour! This is an incredible, wonderful trans youth graphic novel, as well as a really good adventure fantasy one. Yay Nikki Smith!
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  • Gina Carra
    January 1, 1970
    This graphic novel captured my heart in an instant. The focus on blue and pink was a beautiful, subtle detail in a story about gender. Hawke and Grayce protect each other while learning about themselves and the result is a heartwarming tale that will stay with me for years to come.
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  • Sarah Yung
    January 1, 1970
    Hmm, this one about 2.5 stars for me, but I don't want to skew the rating!It's cute, just not super original as far as fantasies go; I would've liked it to have a bit more worldbuilding. Some of the proportions were also a tad iffy, but maybe that will be fixed in the final.
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  • Julia Krystosek
    January 1, 1970
    I wish I could go back in time and give this to my young self, because this book is everythiiiing.Beautifully executed queer content, a training story that doesn't rely on backstabbing fellow students for drama, textile magic, and gorgeous art.
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