written by Ryan Inzana
In feudal Japan, two men come upon a very special thing: a teapot that turns out to be a shapeshifter. They strike a deal with the shapeshifter in order to put on shows for dazzled crowds. Soon, they’re both rich and quite happy. But, as with all things, that only lasts so long. Eventually, the men die and the story of their great, magical teapot show turns into a legend.
The shapeshifting teapot, however, is real, and it gets passd down from generation to generation in one of the men’s families. Flashforward to present day, where a young boy named Ichiro is living with his mother in New York City. Ichiro is a boy with a lot of hostility and anger pent up inside. His father has died in war, and his paternal grandfather has filled his head with notions of terrorists and fear.
When Ichiro’s mother must make a business trip to Japan, she decides to bring Ichiro along so that he can get to know his maternal grandfather. Ichiro will stay with his grandfather while his mother works in the city.
But Ichiro is soon pulled into a strange, mythical world of Japanese gods, where he is placed in the center of an epic battle. What follows is brilliantly captivating fantasy, a boldly told and vividly realized book that is wholly original and yet a wonderfully evocative tribute to classic comics (at least, that’s what I take from the pages of Ryan Inzana’s masterful work: They seem, so often, to evoke imagery from comics’ Golden Age, a touch I absolutely loved).
Inzana has created a great story for young adults here. It’s a sweeping adventure that dazzled me with its thought-provoking and compelling storytelling. This book is highly recommended.