The Sons of Liberty (Sons of Liberty Series #1)

Overview

Forget everything you thought you knew about America's early days-history packs a punch in this full-color, two-fisted, edge-of-your-seat adventure!

 

Graphic novels are a revolution in literature, and The Sons of Liberty is a graphic novel like no other. Visual and visceral, fusing historical fiction and superhero action, this is a tale with broad appeal-for younger readers who enjoy an exciting war story, for teenagers asking hard questions about American history, for ...

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The Sons of Liberty (Sons of Liberty Series #1)

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Overview

Forget everything you thought you knew about America's early days-history packs a punch in this full-color, two-fisted, edge-of-your-seat adventure!

 

Graphic novels are a revolution in literature, and The Sons of Liberty is a graphic novel like no other. Visual and visceral, fusing historical fiction and superhero action, this is a tale with broad appeal-for younger readers who enjoy an exciting war story, for teenagers asking hard questions about American history, for adult fans of comic books, for anyone seeking stories of African American interest, and for reluctant readers young and old.

 

In Colonial America, Graham and Brody are slaves on the run-until they gain extraordinary powers. At first they keep a low profile. But their mentor has another idea-one that involves the African martial art dambe . . . and masks.

 

With its vile villains, electrifying action, and riveting suspense, The Sons of Liberty casts new light on the faces and events of pre-Revolution America, including Ben Franklin and the French and Indian War. American history has rarely been this compelling-and it's never looked this good.

 
For more information and exclusive content, visit www.thesonsoflibertybook.com

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Michael Jung
When runaway slaves Graham and Brody escape their cruel master, they wind up in the clutches of someone far worse—William Franklin, a sadistic scientist who happens to be the illegitimate son of Benjamin Franklin. After being used in one of William's bizarre human experiments, the boys learn that they now have superhuman strength, speed, and intelligence. Discovered once again, this time by Ben Franklin and the mysterious hermit Benjamin Lay, the boys train to harness the new energies in their bodies, and use them in their practice of dambe (dembe), a West African form of boxing. Yet even as the boys dream of freedom and escape, history and bigotry continue to conspire against them, causing them to become a pair of superhuman vigilantes. While exciting and action-packed when viewed as a graphic novel, The Sons of Liberty also features numerous historical inaccuracies that makes its worth as an educational resource dubious, despite its website's claim that it makes "history come alive" for students. The portrayal of William Franklin is particularly disturbing.While the real-life William was a British loyalist who became estranged from his father, he was by no means the criminally insane Dr. Frankenstein of this graphic novel. Those who know their American history might find parts of this comic compelling—even so, the story would have probably worked better as a pure historical fantasy free of its gross caricatures of real-life historical figures. Reviewer: Michael Jung
Publishers Weekly
Colonial America in the wake of the Revolution is completely reimagined in this action-filled and sometimes violent graphic novel, which uses history as a backdrop for a fantastic superhero adventure. Slaves Brody and Graham flee their plantation, later meeting up with the likes of historical figures Benjamin Franklin and abolitionist Benjamin Lay. Brody and Graham develop what seem to be supernatural fighting powers and learn about an African form of combat called dambe from Lay. As seen on the cover, they appear almost like gruff superheroes of the 18th century, unafraid of all the bayonets pointing at them. Anyone wanting a real account of history would find little from reading this, but more lenient readers should appreciate the fast pace and creativity. The art is often exaggerated, with some characters shown with pointed nails, and light cast on faces to make them look somewhat evil. Real violence is shown in a few instances, such as when a man has part of his scalp torn away by a Hessian. Definitely aimed at older elementary school students and up. Ages 10-up. (May)
Library Journal
While historical fantasy mashups with zombies and vampires have recently dominated comics playlists, this series builds a compelling, socially relevant swashbuckler out of other material. In pre-Revolutionary America, runaway slaves Graham and Brody head north toward abolitionist Benjamin Lay but get pressed into service as lab rats for the electrical experiments of Benjamin Franklin's wild-eyed son, William. Somehow they end up with superpowers instead of epitaphs, willing and able to ruin their former slave master and support the colonists' rebellion against the British. There's something terribly satisfying in seeing slaves turn on their oppressors with such zest and scare the britches off the Redcoats in the process. George Washington's ownership of slaves has not been widely publicized until recently, and this story expands knowledge of how long slavery persisted in North America before the Civil War. VERDICT A YALSA Great Graphic Novel for Teens, The Sons of Liberty has wide audience potential and will appeal to many fantasy/superhero fans across ages. The glowing painted art is well designed and suits the story. An online educator's guide explains the historical context. Volume 2 comes in July.—M.C.
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up—Colonial America isn't your usual locale for superheroes, but such is the case here. Graham and Brody are runaway slaves, fleeing a cruel master and his slave hunter. Before they left, they were instructed to find the abolitionist Benjamin Lay, but first they encounter none other than Benjamin Franklin. Unfortunately, his son, William, has been using his father's discoveries in electricity to play Dr. Frankenstein and subjects the two boys to electrical experiments. After they recover, they find out that they have gained an inexplicable and ill-defined set of superpowers. Under the tutelage of the Yodalike Benjamin Lay, the boys learn about their heritage, their abilities, and the African martial art dambe, of which Lay is a master. While this unique story certainly has possibilities, its flaws far outweigh its successes. Not only does the plot verge on the nonsensical, but it also meanders, changing direction and tone, and characters come and go without resolution. The colorful computer-aided artwork is at times dramatic, but it is also often clumsy and lacking any real emotional import. Other problems include the font chosen for Benjamin Franklin's writing, which is illegible at times. Poor execution makes this a secondary purchase at best.—Douglas P. Davey, Halton Hills Public Library, Ontario, Canada
Kirkus Reviews
In this distinctly different take on the American Revolution, electrical experiments by Ben Franklin's crazed son turn two young runaway slaves into human batteries capable for brief periods of amazing feats of speed, strength and intellect. Fortunately Graham and Brody come under the tutelage of (historical) abolitionist Quaker Benjamin Lay, whose misshapen body hides not only a fiery dedication to doing good but (not so historical) superb skill in Dambe, an African martial art. Having absorbed both the morals and the fighting techniques, along with a quick education, the boys hie off to Philadelphia to build new lives-packing cool masks that show off the way their eyes glow when they rev up for action. They go on to successfully take on a brutal slave hunter and his pack of ravening trained dogs, but when Lay is murdered an aborted attempt at revenge leaves them sad and confused. How will they fare against Franklin's son and other enemies? Stay tuned. Printed on coated paper and framed in solid black, the deeply shadowed graphic panels explode with melodrama (and, occasionally, blood) from start to finish. Not a source of accurate history, but it's hard to put down. (Graphic historical fantasy. 12-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375856679
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 5/25/2010
  • Series: Sons of Liberty Series , #1
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 623,761
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jennifer Rummel for TeensReadToo.com

    When one runaway slave returns by force to the plantation by a cruel bounty hunter and dogs, two boys find themselves in trouble - deadly trouble. In order to avoid death, they run from the plantation in search of a man who just might help them survive.

    They believe Benjamin Lay will help hide them until they can find a safe place. While trying to find him, they run across William Franklin, son of Benjamin Franklin, conducting experiments of electricity through animals. The boys become infused with powers they don't understand. Their eyes glow and they can become extraordinarily strong and athletic.

    The boys might be just what the country needs in times of trouble and injustice. They simply need to stay hidden and keep their powers to themselves to survive.

    This start of a new series that blends history with the supernatural is very intriguing. I love the artwork; it simply leaps off the pages. However, the story is a little confusing as it jumps around. It's hard keeping track of the people and pieces of the tale that do not seem relevant. I'm curious to see where this series will go next.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2010

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