Review: Summer Reading Challenge – Leave it to Chance
The Leave it to Chance Trilogy is the first set of books I set out to read for my summer reading challenge. It’s been languishing on my library shelves, though I know that it came highly recommended. Now that I’ve finally picked up these oversized volumes, I can’t wait to go back in the Fall and talk these up with my middle schoolers. My only regret… it looks like these books are out of print.
Leave it to Chance.
Book One: Shaman’s Rain.
James Robinson & Paul Smith with Jeromy Cox
Image Comics, c2002 ISBN 1-58240-253-1
Book Two: Trick or Treat.
James Robinson & George Foreman with Jeromy Cox
Image Comics, c2002, ISBN 1-58240-278-7
Book Three: Monster Madness & Other Stories
James Robinson & George Foreman with Jeromy Cox
Image Comics, c2003, ISBN 1-58240-298-1
Suggested for ages 12+
112 pp., $14.95
Chance Falconer is the only daughter of Lucas Falconer, a paranormal investigator (but more like paranormal “fighter”). Father and Daughter live in the city of Devil’s Echo, where there family has been for generations. There has been a Falconer going back generations fighting the forces of evil and Chance thinks, now that she’s of age, it’s her turn to be trained to fight evil alongside her father. She is sorely disappointed when her father refuses, saying it will skip a generation until a boy is born.
Spunky Chance is determined to somehow change her father’s mind, but she knows it’s no easy feat. She doesn’t quite start out very well, freeing a dragon that is supposed to be sent back to its own world, eaves dropping on conversations she shouldn’t be listening too, and getting in the middle of her father’s work. Yet no matter what Chance does, it seems her father, physically and emotionally scarred by a battle that took Chance’s mother from them, will not change her mind.
The stories in each of these volumes are well developed and engaging. The first mystery has to do with a Shaman who is attacked by unknown forces. The Shaman’s daughter is missing and it seems to all ties into a very suspect mayoral election that’s going on in Devil’s Echo.
In volume two, Chance is sent to boarding school to keep her out of trouble. But it seems like trouble always follows her. She discovers that a ghost is haunting the school, and that the students are being drugged at dinner to keep them sleeping through the night. While the story isn’t as compelling as the first one, it adds a wonderful dimension, because Chance who grew up secluded and protected finally has friends her own age.
In the third volume, monsters have literally climbed out of the movies and are wreaking havoc on the city. Chance is ordered to stay home and safe, but of course, she doesn’t. While she does help the situation, her father refuses to see that she is capable of taking up the arcane studies that will allow her to be his assistant and one day follow in his footsteps.
There are wonderful tertiary characters, like the newspaper reporter, Will, and the female officer, Margo. Both work at helping Chance while trying to keep her safe and out of trouble. All of the books include some bit of supernatural elements, which are more comedic than scary.
One of the reasons I was disappointed that this series ended, I felt like Chance’s relationship with her dad could have been developed so much more. Would her dad ever give in and allow her to be his assistant? Would he ever recognize that Chance is strong and capable?
As for the artwork… I found it dynamic and exciting. The action was well-drawn. It was easy to recognize the characters and distinguish them one from another. Though at times, I felt like Chance looked more like she was 18 than she was 14. It seemed to change, depending on what she was wearing and what situation she was in, which I guess one could argue, is true to life.
As I mentioned, it looks like these volumes are out of print. So if you haven’t read it yet, this is a good time to go to your local library. Hopefully, they will have these books.
Filed under: Reviews, Uncategorized
About Esther Keller
Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. She also curates the Graphic Novel collection for the NYC DOE Citywide Digital Library. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly LMC). In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.
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