The Hunt Is on: Book 1
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About the Author
"In The Hunt Is On, set in a fantastical version of medieval China, Nie Jun (My Beijing) combines breathtaking illustrations with a thrilling and unpredictable quest. Hunt, the first in a YA graphic novel series, balances dynamic action sequences with a nuanced exploration of environmental commodification and resource scarcity.
Brothers Xinyue and Qiliu and their mother, Bu Ren Niang, are 'aweto seekers, ' magical thieves who roam the countryside in search of deities called chadolos. Each chadolo contains an aweto, a primitive magical being with the ability to bring life to the land it inhabits. Aweto are coveted for their agricultural value and can be sold at very high prices; as a result, they have become vanishingly rare.
Xinyue and Qiliu botch a raid on a local village where a dying chadolo begs Xinyue to save its child. Xinyue, keeping the baby chadolo a secret from his brother, begins to suspect that it contains a priceless 'celestial aweto, ' rumored to grant eternal life. The chadolo's presence soon threatens to undermine Xinyue's bonds with his family--but it may also hold the key to Xinyue's true identity and fate.
Jun's watercolor illustrations pulse with energetic movement--the huge, temperamental chadolos erupt out of the earth in swirling explosions of color each time they appear. Jun's expressive character designs imbue his protagonists with nuance, wit and humanity, and his brisk narrative (translated by Edward Gauvin referring to the French translation and the original Chinese text) remains fresh and unpredictable, building toward a conclusion as exhilarating as it is devastating.
Discover: In this thrilling graphic novel, the lives of two brothers in an alternate medieval China are upended after one is secretly entrusted with the care of a rare and powerful magical being."--Shelf Awareness
"Xinyue, his brother, and his mother travel the Silk Road in search of awetos, magical plants that harness much-coveted medicinal powers. With the help of his drum, which controls insects, Xinyue and his family attack a village that honors a deity that, in turn, houses a baby aweto. Before the diety dies, however, it asks Xinyue to take care of its baby, and Xinyue reluctantly becomes the aweto's father figure, hiding it from his family as they continue their travels. Nie Jun has centered his luscious, dreamy fairy tale around a perky, funny, yet morally conflicted boy and an adorable creature that looks like a hybrid between a baby and a giant carrot. Both the kaleidoscopic color palette and swirling brush strokes are as whimsical as the story, making it a joy to read even when Xinyue and the aweto are in danger. Readers will want to escape into the vast, watercolor landscapes as well as the crowded marketplaces with its varied inhabitants and candied plum suckers. An enchanting, beautifully crafted adventure for children and adults alike."--Booklist-- (3/15/2021 12:00:00 AM)
"In medieval China, along the Silk Road, Xinyue, who can command insects with his drum; his grumpy older brother Qiliu, who has wings and can fly; and their mother Bu Ren Niang are among the many seeking the legendary celestial aweto, which grants eternal life. The three of them attempt to follow insects to the chadolo, an earth deity who grows the aweto on their head. They find a chadolo who is none too happy about being disturbed, and the villagers vow to keep the deity safe. In the ensuing battle, the brothers are successful, but it turns out the chadolo had a baby growing inside, a cute little plant creature who imprints on Xinyue. Without the aweto, the village will turn into a desert, so the village's princess goes on the hunt for the brothers and the baby. The pace picks up near the end, just in time to conclude on a cliff-hanger. Jun pulls from his culture of the Qinghai province in China, and the story offers a glimpse into the beauty and storytelling of the area. The setting is well crafted, and readers will find the sibling dynamic between the brothers delightful, and perhaps a bit familiar. Jun's delicate watercolors practically sing in their movement and detail. VERDICT An exciting story with dreamlike illustrations. Fans of the Avatar: The Last Airbender comics will enjoy this title, and the adorable baby chadolo makes the book a good companion piece for teens waiting for the next season of The -Mandalorian."--School Library Journal-- (3/1/2021 12:00:00 AM)
"In a fantastical version of medieval China, some seek the rare and valuable aweto.
The trio at the center of the story are Xinyue, who can control insects with his drum; his reserved older brother, Qiliu, distinguished by his fiery red hair and wings; and their aged, knowledgeable mother, Bu Ren Niang. In search of aweto, the brothers attack the matriarchal Sanamo on whose land they can be found. Prized for their powerful medicinal properties, the aweto, which is plantlike in the summer and wormlike during the winter, grow on the heads of chadolos, deities that bring life to the land they inhabit. As Xinyue gets through the Sanamo's defenses and plucks an aweto from a particularly large chadolo, he is surprised when the chadolo asks him to watch and care for its baby before it dies. Soon, rumors that this baby may hold the elusive celestial aweto, which grants immortality, threaten familial loyalties and reveal dark secrets, and Xinyue is tragically forced to question his own motivations. This graphic novel translated from Chinese bursts with color and adventure: Each panel teems with movement artfully rendered in a bright, saturated pastel palette. While the unrelenting pace will engage readers, the story's many moving parts, some of them insufficiently explained, occasionally lead to jarring surprises. Readers will anticipate the sequel that may bring additional context to both the story and characters' motivations.
Packed with action and intrigue."--Kirkus Reviews