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Meridian v. 1: Flying Solo by Barbara Kesel
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Meridian v. 1: Flying Solo

by Barbara Kesel

Series: Meridian (1)

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Kesel, Barbara. Meridian: Flying Solo. Canada. 2001.

Genre:

Graphic Novel

Themes:

Female empowerment, fratricide, science fiction

Age / Grade Appropriateness:

Young Adults, adults. Age 16+

Awards:

None that I could find

Censorship Issues:

Violence (kills his brother), perhaps the graphic style (tight fitting clothes of comic characters).

Art style:

Old world style, with muted color palette. Characters are dressed in older looking costumes (definitely not futuristic).

Plot Summary:

Meridian is the story of Sephie. Sephie is the only daughter of Turos, the leader of the Meridian colony. In the world created by the comic, the surface of the planet is no longer livable, leaving colonies that exist on floating islands.
The novel opens with a discussion by some “supreme beings.” The beings are discussing the lack of conflict which fuels their existence. To this end, they decide to mix it up by giving special powers to two individuals, one good and one evil. Sephie represents the good power, while the bad is represented by her evil uncle Ilahn.
In the first few pages, the readers are introduced to the idyllic world of Meridian. This ideal is shattered when the special power is given to Turos, who is too weak from poison that his brother Ilahn had given him, dies from the power. The power is transferred to Sephie as her father dies. Unable to believe that her father is dead she seeks refuge with her uncle, not realizing how evil he truly is.
Slowly, she begins to realize the evil intentions of Ilahn, and decides to escape Ilahn’s home colony, but not before she and Ilahn begin to experiment with their powers. She escapes, but falls to her “death” after her uncle sends ships to catch her. Miraculously she survives her fall to the surface of the planet (due to her new found power, which she has no control over).
The novel, which is a collection of the first seven issues of an ongoing comic book series, ends abruptly; which is intended to make the reader continue with the series in the next issue.

Critique:

The novel is told, mostly, from the perspective of Sephie, a young woman thrust into the role of leadership of her father’s colony. The graphic style is appealing for teens and the female lead character should be identifiable for young women readers. As a book for a library collection, is would seem unusable if the library is not willing to invest in the entire collection. The abrupt ending was upsetting. It could not exist as a stand alone story, even as a short story, as there are no resolutions to any plot lines and the panels only exist to serve as setups for future issues. The use of a female lead is important and worthwhile and , as the chapter introductions tell us, the authors took great pains to refrain from representing Sephie as an Adult that happened to be only a teenager. They intentionally gave her appearance the qualities of a teenager, not an adult.

Curriculum Uses:

As stated before, the lack of any conclusions of the story, make it hard to argue for its inclusion in any library collection, unless they are willing to purchase the entire collection. If used for curriculum purposes, the novel is useful for showing female characters in positions of power, not one of submission prevalent in classical literature. ( )
  mightymike1976 | Oct 25, 2009 |
Meridian Volume 1 by Barbara Kesel - graphic fiction. Crossgen created the Sigilverse first and wrote its history and people before separating out and telling its stories as different series (Sigil, Mystic, Meridian, and Scion). Meridian was enjoyed by the whole family and there was hoarding that had to be dealt with severely! The hero of Medidian is Sephie who reminded me quite a bit of the hero of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Sephie is a sheltered, athletic daughter of a leader. Her neighbours love her and cherish their life in harmony with thei hovering islands. When she receives the mysterious sigil mark her father is killed and her uncle wages war on her island state. She sees how her uncle separates some beings into worthy and others into unworthy and experiences the degradation off the environment that other states live with. Very good! ( )
  sara_k | Oct 7, 2007 |
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Sephie and her uncle Ilahn discover that they bear symbols of power shortly after Sephie's father, the Minister of Meridian, dies, and as Sephie learns more about her abilities, Ilahn begins to use his in his goal of world conquest.

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