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Squire (2022)

by Nadia Shammas, Sara Alfageeh

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2791995,351 (3.93)8
From two incredible rising talents comes the fantasy graphic novel Molly Knox Ostertag calls "instantly compelling." Aiza has always dreamt of becoming a Knight. It's the highest military honor in the once-great Bayt-Sajji Empire, and as a member of the subjugated Ornu people, Knighthood is her only path to full citizenship. Ravaged by famine and mounting tensions, Bayt-Sajji finds itself on the brink of war once again, so Aiza can finally enlist in the competitive Squire training program. It's not how she imagined it, though. Aiza must navigate new friendships, rivalries, and rigorous training under the unyielding General Hende, all while hiding her Ornu background. As the pressure mounts, Aiza realizes that the "greater good" that Bayt-Sajji's military promises might not include her, and that the recruits might be in greater danger than she ever imagined. In this breathtaking and timely story, Aiza will have to choose, once and for all: loyalty to her heart and heritage, or loyalty to the Empire.… (more)
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» See also 8 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Really good overall, I just wish it was longer. The second half was a bit rushed. I would have loved if this was like a 2-4 book series. ( )
  ZetaRiemann | Apr 4, 2024 |
Gr 7 Up—Young Aiza joins the military to escape poverty, win heroic acclaim, and earn citizenship, only to see the
ruling Empire's propaganda for what it really is. This Middle Eastern—inspired fantasy story will hook readers
through gorgeous artwork and unforgettable characters.
  BackstoryBooks | Apr 1, 2024 |
Interesting and uplifting, but felt that it ended just as it was really hitting it's stride. ( )
  Belbo713 | Mar 11, 2024 |
I originally picked this up because of the art and colors used. What a delightful story of a girl who refuses to quit. If you’re a fan of Tamora Pierce’s Alanna series, you’ll LOVE this story. ( )
  Nlwilson607 | Jan 24, 2024 |
Sara Alfageeh and Nadia Shammas’ Squire follows Aiza, a girl who enlists in the Bayt-Sajjian military with the goal of becoming a squire and, eventually, a knight. Aiza is an Ornu girl, a member of a group that was conquered by the Bayt-Saijji Empire. The empire seeks to secure its place in history by forcibly assimilating outsiders, but they never trust those they take into their empire. Aiza hides her identity for her training. There, she meets Husni, who dreams of being a hero; Sahar, who joined for greater financial security; and Basem El-Shadid, the son of a famous knight-turned-senator. They train alongside each other, getting to know each other, but Aiza hides her identity until she has no other choice. Then, all the characters must reconcile what they’ve learned about Bayt-Saijji with the experience on the ground. Aiza learns more from Doruk, a disgraced former knight.

Alfageeh and Shammas craft a beautiful story evocative of the best fantasy, though without the magical elements. They draw upon their Jordanian heritage both in creating the cultures as well as the physical setting, with Al Khazneh from Petra featuring as a prominent location. Elements of the story resemble Tamora Pierce’s Tortall universe, specifically the knight training in the Song of the Lioness and Protector of the Small quartets. Alfageeh’s characters are all distinctive and recognizable while her attention to detail on clothing and settings brings the story to life. Her use of colors makes every page a gorgeous work of art in its own right. A section at the end of the book describes the development of character designs and taking a page from script to thumbnails to layouts and final art. Shammas and Alfageeh tell a beautiful story about the differences between the stories governments tell and the stories people experience. ( )
  DarthDeverell | Jan 18, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nadia Shammasprimary authorall editionscalculated
Alfageeh, Saramain authorall editionsconfirmed
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To Edward Said, for giving me the language to see myself clearly. - N.S.
To ten-year-old Sara and long summers in Jordan. - S.A.
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Aiza! Don't forget to take the apricots!

   I know, Mama, I know!
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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From two incredible rising talents comes the fantasy graphic novel Molly Knox Ostertag calls "instantly compelling." Aiza has always dreamt of becoming a Knight. It's the highest military honor in the once-great Bayt-Sajji Empire, and as a member of the subjugated Ornu people, Knighthood is her only path to full citizenship. Ravaged by famine and mounting tensions, Bayt-Sajji finds itself on the brink of war once again, so Aiza can finally enlist in the competitive Squire training program. It's not how she imagined it, though. Aiza must navigate new friendships, rivalries, and rigorous training under the unyielding General Hende, all while hiding her Ornu background. As the pressure mounts, Aiza realizes that the "greater good" that Bayt-Sajji's military promises might not include her, and that the recruits might be in greater danger than she ever imagined. In this breathtaking and timely story, Aiza will have to choose, once and for all: loyalty to her heart and heritage, or loyalty to the Empire.

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