Cat’s Cradle: The Golden Twine by Jo Rioux
First Second (June 21, 2022)
128 pages; $21.99 hardcover; $14.99 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage
Jo Rioux is an author, an illustrator, and a life-long space cadet who flies by the seat of her rocket pants. Since graduating Sheridan College in illustration, she’s illustrated picture books and novels, but her favorite medium remains comics. Her debut graphic novel, Cat’s Cradle, was recently printed by First Second Books.
Cat’s Cradle: The Golden Twine is a YA graphic novel focused on Suri, a young girl who desires to be a monster tamer. Suri currently is hiding in a travelling merchant camp, dodging the authorities and telling stories to the children of the camp for coins to buy food. When a local demon shows up and chases Suri away from the camp, mysterious rescuers come to her aid in the beginning of what looks like to be a fantastic series.
This graphic novel is perfect for YA audiences just getting into horror and dark fantasy. It has all the hallmarks of a medieval mythical horror featuring monsters like basilisks and jackalopes, but with a precocious air that makes it accessible for young readers. There are a few thrills and scares in the book, but nothing that will terrify the target audience, as well as some interesting world-building biology and botany that will certainly hold their interest. Furthermore, Rioux’s art is stylized in a way to tell the story but also engage audiences not ready for more realistic graphic novels.
Cat’s Cradle: The Golden Twine works as a solid YA adventure story featuring monsters and mystery. The folklore and world-building is solid, and the characters are engaging and cleverly developed. Readers of all ages will certainly enjoy this book.