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5 Worlds: The Sand Warrior by Mark Siegel ⇉ Full Color Illustrations, Unlikely Heroes, and a #GIVEAWAY

Friday, June 9, 2017
Five worlds at stake. Three unlikely heroes. . .

The Sand Warrior has the basics to one of my favorite plotlines in fantasy worlds. Furthermore, it's told in graphic novel format. Though I typically favor prose reads, I enjoy a good graphic novel and opened this one in anticipation of how the illustrations would bring the story to life.


Full Color Illustrations
The Sand Warrior is filled with full color illustrations from start the finish. I appreciate the use of full color because it brings the fantasy world to life in a way that wouldn't have been possible with black and white illustrations.

The Political Intricacies
With the fate of 5 worlds at stake, there is unrest and political intricacy as expected. Different races fight for a say in their fates, there are power struggles, and there is the daily fight for survival. In the end, the story makes the reader question who is in the right and if there is a way to resolve everything in a way that respects all the parties involved. The twist in the last battle of The Sand Warrior further expands on the political intricacies and the moral dilemmas faced by the characters.

Creative World Building
Though only a few of the characteristics of the 5 worlds are explored in The Sand Warrior, it is clear that each world possesses its unique elements. The ability of the sand dancers is the focus in this first book. Oona's troubles in the academy will be relatable to many young people; I wish that her time there was explored in more detail.

Strong Mentor Figures
The main characters are still children. Though they must take action on their own at times (being the heroes), they do not do everything on their own. At times when they don't know what to do, they turn to their mentor figures, who play instrumental roles in providing them with shelter, important information, and learning opportunities. I am always appreciative of books with strong mentor figures. No matter how old we get, we always need them!!

Contemporary Issues in a Foreign World
Bullying and name calling . . . social unrest . . . political intricacies . . . racism . . . many contemporary issues are raised in The Sand Warrior. Given that events take place in a foreign world, this presents a safe place for young readers to explore these issues.


Does Not Build a Firm Foundation
Soon after the start, events take place one after the other without pause. I felt like a puppet being dragged from one place to another without understanding the point of the mission. Yes, this may have happened because the characters themselves don't know what's going on, but without a clear focus, the readers will become lost as well.

This first book certainly does its job of setting up the premise. However, it was a simple introduction and nothing more. As a first book, it's weak and doesn't have the power to stand alone, something I expect from a strong first book in a series.

Flat Characters
Outside of the twist introduced towards the end, The Sand Warrior fails to invest my interest in the characters' stories. The characters felt bland and cookie cutter. They fit nicely within the stereotype presented and don't act much outside of it. Though the panels will focus on their faces now and then, their expressions weren't readable and didn't tell me anything about them.

I expect that later books will teach us more about the characters and the worlds they inhabit. That said, we shouldn't have to rely so much on sequels to let us get to know the characters, especially if they were introduced early into the novel and play a pivotal role in events.

What's the Message?
Lastly, because there isn't a coherent plot and the characters don't take much of an active role in pushing it forward (instead being led by others), this first book last a decisive message to pull it together. Again, I expect to see a clearer plot as the later books bring the plot threads together, but we shouldn't have to rely on later books to bring it all together. Each book should still have a clear purpose.


All in all, The Sand Warrior is a weak first book but sets the stage for the sequels to come. I enjoyed the full color illustrations and the creative world building. There is much intrigue in this book, and I am interested in seeing where the plot twist at the end takes us.

If you're interested in reading more (or know someone who would enjoy reading this book), remember to enter the giveaway at the end of this post for a chance to win a copy of The Sand Warrior!

The Five Worlds are on the brink of extinction unless five ancient and mysterious beacons are lit. When war erupts, three unlikely heroes will discover there s more to themselves and more to their worlds than meets the eye. . . . The clumsiest student at the Sand Dancer Academy, Oona Lee is a fighter with a destiny bigger than she could ever imagine.

A boy from the poorest slums, An Tzu has a surprising gift and a knack for getting out of sticky situations.

Star athlete Jax Amboy is beloved by an entire galaxy, but what good is that when he has no real friends? When these three kids are forced to team up on an epic quest, it will take not one, not two, but 5 WORLDS to contain all the magic and adventure!


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If you were to travel to another planet, what will you do there?

Publication Info
  • The Sand Warrior by Mark Siegel
  • Published by Random House BFYR
  • On May 2, 2017
  • Genres: Graphic Novel
  • Format: Hardback
5 Worlds
  1. The Sand Warrior
  2. The Cobalt Prince
  • Some violence

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the author. All thoughts expressed are my personal honest opinions.


Thanks to the publisher, I have the following to give away to a blog reader!

The Sand Warrior by Mark Siegel

The United States

a Rafflecopter giveaway

4 comments on "5 Worlds: The Sand Warrior by Mark Siegel ⇉ Full Color Illustrations, Unlikely Heroes, and a #GIVEAWAY"
  1. check stuff out and see if there is life out there

  2. Wouldn't matter which planet but, I would delve into the darkest parts that regular satellites could not capture. I would climb up the tallest parts and through it all, take amazing pictures!

  3. I would check things out and if it was liveable maybe start a life there. Virginia H


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