Nico Bravo and the Cellar Dwellers

First Second. (Nico Bravo: Bk. 2). Aug. 2020. 192p. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781250218865.
Gr 3-6–The second adventure in the fantastical world of Nico Bravo is an epic, mysterious quest that also delves deeper into character backstories. An orphan, Nico finds a sense of family and belonging in his friends: Vulcan, who owns the Celestial Supply Shop; a sphinx named Lula; and Buck, a tough-talking unicorn. They live and work at the store, where all things arcane are available to every god and monster. A spy is stalking the shop’s halls, though, and a monster is accidentally released from the West African god of pestilence and misfortune’s pouch, forcing the shop into quarantine and sending Nico and his friends out to capture the escaped monster. However, this monster has the power to petrify, and as Nico plunges into the depths of the shop’s cellars, he begins to unravel the mystery of who he is as well as his family’s secrets. Bold artwork and clean lettering create a lively, action-packed read. Humorous side comments and references to Nordic, West African, and Roman myths and legends may inspire inquisitive readers to further investigate the origins of these gods and monsters. Familiarity with the first in the series is not a must, as the author provides textual and visual clues.
VERDICT A satisfying continuation of the first book; fantasy and graphic novel readers, especially those who love Rick Riordan, will enjoy reading more of Nico’s escapades.

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