Klein continues his masterful political fantasy The Lost Colony by turning the spotlight on frontier religion’s exploitative powers. Protagonist Bird, a rambunctious child who is doted on by many former slaves, surviving Indians, and the Chinese immigrant scientist Dr. Wong, has a terrible time this outing. She is coping with sad memories of her deceased grandfather, struggling to make sense of the newly arrived, insipid, and dangerous preacher Buck Swagger; and fighting with her true friend, Louis. As ever, the Lost Colony’s environment is filled with surface sweetness and light, not to mention magic rock-bones, cute bugs, and sassy nineteenth-century costumes setting off big hair and soulful eyes. Readers who enjoy political satire will find this a treat, while graphic novel aficionados who have waited a year for this episode will be delighted to find it continues to pack unexpected punches. Newcomers to the series will want to begin with volume one, The Snodgrass Conspiracy (2006), to get a grip on Bird’s world. -- Booklist
Like some fairy tale take on the Old South, peopled with fantastic characters and lightly leavened with satire, Klein’s third Lost Colony volume is a treat from start to finish. On the titular utopian island, where verdant fields are bounded by lushly blooming trees and picturesque mountains that initially obscure the dark past of the humans living there, spoiled princess Birdy isn’t sure where to turn with her problems. The loving flashbacks she has of her recently murdered grandfather are challenged by the eruption of truth about his violently racist character, while her stuckup mother appears smitten by the appearance of an old flame, the oleaginous Reverend Swagger. Meanwhile, Birdy, a spoiled and repentant tyke, continues to mistreat her one true friend, the ex-slave Louis. Klein’s mixture of the real (shades of the antebellum Southern racism) and the fantastic (magical rock sprites who inhabit the island and work in mysterious ways), combined with his wondrously bright visuals, make for a heady and occasionally even educational mixture. -- Publisher's Weekly
In this third installment of a planned ten-book series, Birdy Snodgrass’s life is clearly getting more complicated. The “lost” island’s location has been betrayed by her own mother, who sends a letter to Buck Swagger, her former lover and minister of dubious repute. Meanwhile Birdy is trying to come to grips with the death of her grandfather. Was he truly killed by her former nanny, Patricia, or the rock bugs that seem intent on protecting the island? As she struggles with questions of whom can she trust, what happens when people die, and what Dr. Wong is truly trying to do in his island laboratory, Birdy’s father sends guards to capture both Patricia and Louis John, much to Birdy’s dismay and confusion.
Unquestionably there is a lot going on in this series. Coming in to the third volume without familiarity with the first two is inadvisable. Klein’s artwork is clever and has depth, while his ongoing tale provides another look at issues of American history, slavery, religion, politics, and corruption. Besides reading it on its own, it would be an interesting series to pair with Twain’s look at early America or to bring into an AP American History class. Libraries that have started purchasing this series certainly need to satisfy their readers curiosity as to how the travails of how Birdy are evolving. -- VOYA