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Curses! Foiled Again

Curses! Foiled Again

by Jane Yolen, Mike Cavallaro (Illustrator)

Aliera Carstairs is back. This time she's got her cousin—and best friend—Caroline in tow, and the stakes are higher than ever. The realm of Seelie, the fairy kingdom of which Aliera is the hereditary defender, is under attack, and only Aliera and Caroline can set things right. Caroline, fragile and wheelchair-bound, may seem like more of a liability than


Aliera Carstairs is back. This time she's got her cousin—and best friend—Caroline in tow, and the stakes are higher than ever. The realm of Seelie, the fairy kingdom of which Aliera is the hereditary defender, is under attack, and only Aliera and Caroline can set things right. Caroline, fragile and wheelchair-bound, may seem like more of a liability than an asset, but Aliera knows there's more to her quiet cousin than meets the eye. Curses! Foiled Again, a follow up to graphic novel Foiled! is Jane Yolen at her best, reunited with her partner in crime, the fabulously talented illustrator Mike Cavallaro.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Yolen’s smart, introspective, foil-wielding Aliera Carstairs returns, this time to thwart the Dark Lord’s plot to kidnap her beloved cousin. The Dark Lord wants the Defender’s weapon—that’s Aliera’s sword, the one with the hokey-looking jewel at the base that Aliera’s mother picked up at a tag sale. It’s this marriage of the mundane and the magical that gives this sequel to Foiled its most winning moments; Aliera has to squeeze her feats of derring-do in between high school math tests and fencing practice. Cavallaro uses a pallid gray-green palette for the New York City landscape in which Aliera lives her everyday life and rainbow colors for the magical beings that trail her. The story line has heart and intelligence, and Yolen successfully weds faerie lore to cinema-style plot twists; the only weak spot is the occasionally clunky dialogue: “You’ve watched too many cheap movies, Aliera,” her nemesis tells her. “You sound like every cheap villain in them,” is Aliera’s banal retort. Yet Aliera is such an engaging hero that fans will gladly overlook the deficit. Ages 11–up. Agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. Illustrator’s agent: Joe Monti, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Jan.)¦
VOYA - Jonathan Ryder
In this sequel to Foiled (First Second, 2010), Aliera Carstairs is a fairly normal teenager who keeps her grades up and is a promising fencer. She has also discovered that she is the “Defender of the Fairie,” charged with keeping the balance between the “mundane” and “mystical” worlds. To help her, she has a fencing foil that her mother found at a yard sale, but which is really the sword of the Last Defender of the Fairie (i.e. Aliera). She is joined on her quest by a troll who has taken the form of a handsome high school student named Avery Castle and who calls Aliera his “liege lord,” much to her frequent chagrin. Aliera must defend both realms, figure out which fairies, trolls, and other folk there are to actually help her, and keep her parents blissfully oblivious of her additional extracurricular activities. This artwork shows influences of both Eastern and Western styles. The use of color is particularly interesting, as the “mundane” world is depicted using a grayscale pallet, while the “mystical” world is depicted with a variety of colors, with each character using a single color as a theme; for example, trolls are colored in shades of green, while many fairies are colored in shades of yellow. The artwork itself is highly detailed, with several seemingly minor elements providing additional information and/or commentary about the action. The storyline shows a similar fusion of styles, taking elements of Western fairy tales and placing them into a “magical girl” story that will be familiar to most readers of manga. The characters are engaging, and the story is well paced. The ending makes it clear that a sequel is already in the works. Young teens looking for a quick read with a strong female character should enjoy this. Ages 12 to 15.
Children's Literature - Miranda McClain
Aliera Carstairs is one tough cookie. Not only is she fierce with a blade, her tongue lashings are sharp as well. She will need all her skills as an expert fencer and even her dry wit to defend the Seelie Court of the Faerie kingdom. She is no average teenager, but the chosen Defender. With the help of Avery, the cutest boy in school, who just happens to be a troll in disguise, Aliera must protect her weapon—heaven help anyone who dares touch it, let alone call it a sword—and rescue her cousin and best friend, Caroline, who has suddenly gone missing. Unfortunately not everyone is who he or she seems to be and Aliera finds betrayal around every turn. To win the day she will have to learn who her real friends are and maybe get a little help from Baba Yaga, of all people. This sequel to Foiled draws its readers further into the mysterious world of Faerie and does not let go. Aliera is instantly likeable and the story is quite original. The graphics add just the right touch of whimsy to this modern fairy tale. Reviewer: Miranda McClain
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Yolen continues Aliera's journey in this follow-up to Foiled (First Second, 2010), which fleshes out more of the faerie world the young fencer has now become a part of. A quick sequential recap of the first story appears at the beginning to make this book accessible to new readers. Aliera has recently come to terms with her new role as Defender of the Faerie. She has discovered that her classmate Avery is actually a magically glamoured troll. He keeps following her around and cryptically promising to tell her more about her destiny. It's a shame that knowing his real identity doesn't make her think he's any less cute. Despite a chance encounter with Baba Yaga while riding the bus, Aliera attempts her normal routine: school, fencing practice, and visiting her cousin Caroline. A band of surly trolls is intent on getting her mystical practice foil, however, and plot to kidnap her and Avery at Grand Central Terminal. Barely escaping unscathed, Aliera learns that Caroline has been kidnapped. Color is used sparsely throughout Cavallaro's fantastic art, helping to highlight the surreal surroundings Aliera keeps getting thrown into. For example, she is in gray tones until she uses her foil to become invisible, which changes her hue to a darker shade of yellow. In dialogue-heavy panels, it can be difficult to tell which character is speaking. Still, the story itself provides a strong female protagonist who will leave readers clamoring for more.—Ryan P. Donovan, New York Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
En garde! Gear up for more sword fights and trolls as well as an appearance from Baba Yaga in this swashbuckling sequel. Picking right up where Foiled (2010) left off (though with enough back story for new readers to comfortably jump in), Aliera Carstairs, the sassy, sword-fighting, take-no-prisoners heroine, is still battling trolls as the last Defender of Faerie. Avery Castle, the hottie who turned out to be a troll--literally--is now bound to Aliera as her vassal, causing her more headaches than heart flutters. The unlikely pair must find and battle the Dark Lord, whose identity, when revealed, isn't quite the shocking twist it was set up to be. Cavallaro keeps the stylized sensibility he established in the previous volume, rendering our world a washed-out grayscale landscape and juxtaposing it against the vibrant--though invisible to humans--world of Faerie. Given that each chapter is named for a type of fencing move, it's too bad there is no glossary to help those unacquainted with the sport understand what is undoubtedly a careful authorial nuance. This minor flaw aside, the book offers a lot of fast-paced fairy-tale fun, and Aliera is both admirable and easy to relate to for her fierceness and foibles. A mysterious prophecy of things to come at the conclusion results in raised eyebrows and impatience for Volume 3. (Graphic fantasy. 12 & up)

Product Details

First Second
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 8.28(h) x 0.45(d)
GN380L (what's this?)
Age Range:
11 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Jane Yolen (Foiled, Curses! Foiled Again) is the author of over 300 books, including Owl Moon, The Devil's Arithmetic, and How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? Her books and stories have won an assortment of awards—including two Nebulas, a World Fantasy Award, a Caldecott Honor, the Golden Kite Award, two Christopher Medals, and a nomination for the National Book Award.

Mike Cavallaro (Foiled, Curses! Foiled Again) is originally from New Jersey, where he grew up on a steady diet of home-cooked Italian food and the music of Bruce Springsteen. He is a member of the web-comics collective, ACT-I-VATE, where he contributes weekly web comics, including the true-life historic memoir, Parade (With Fireworks), a 2008 Eisner Award nominee.

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