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I'm sick today, so this is a short book from the big box [personal profile] octopedingenue sent.

The tagline on the cover reads "Yet another troll-fighting eleven-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl", and yes, this is an addition to the nascent genre (TM Michael Chabon) of Jews With Swords. Well, one sword.

This is a graphic novel very plainly aimed at early elementary school students, but it doesn't talk down. The story is fairly basic-- our heroine, Mirka, wants to slay dragons-- but not told in exactly the way one expects (her stepmother's reaction to this is 'Isn't killing a dragon attacking a symptom while ignoring root ecological causes?'). In addition, it achieves a layer of ambiguities that I find interesting by reserving judgment on the role of women in Orthodox Judaism entirely. The status quo is what it is and it's shown as on occasion both a good and a bad thing for Mirka.

And the plot is going along merrily, and then it stops for a while because it's Shabbat, and you can't have plot on Shabbat.

So I liked this, although it feels very young for me, and at eleven I would probably have loved it. At the moment, some of its ambiguities cause me feminist twitching, but, you know, I do much prefer a text that attempts to accurately represent something to a text that explicitly says 'xyz is good' or 'xyz is evil' without making sure you are aware, first, of what xyz is. I do, with this subject matter, know what xyz is, so I'd have preferred a little more engagement, but that is partly because I'm, you know, not eleven, so there it is.


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