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.
Aiza will have to choose, once and for all: loyalty to her heart and heritage, or loyalty to the Empire.
Squire was a welcome treat of a graphic novel, with beautiful art, a gorgeous colour scheme and a concise, well structured story which I found easy to follow.
This graphic novel tackles a variety of topics, some more in depth and difficult than others. As we follow Aiza through her day-to-day life in the competitive Squire training program, we see her navigate friendships, which felt relatable and really drew me into the story. The art was visually stunning and the colour scheme beautiful too, and the landscapes were definitely a favourite part of the overall story for me.
The pacing really picks up in the second half and the action scenes are really visually engaging, almost feeling like a movie. The ending does feel quite rushed, however, and I do feel like this slightly distracted from the struggles Aiza was facing in regards to her Ornu background.
Overall, this was beautiful and I’d love to re-read it at some point to further explore the story, and I’d definitely read another volume if it was published.
4 out of 5 stars
May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽