Xolo Score 3.5/5
Rey Terciero’s graphic novel, Doña Quixote: Rise of the Knight, is a modern retelling of the classic Don Quixote. The story’s protagonist is Mexican-American Middle grader Lucia, who dreams of becoming a knight like her Abuelo. After Abuelo passes, Lucia continues his mission despite the harsh judgment from her family. She seeks adventure with her best friend, Sandro, and trusty steed, Rocky the donkey. This book breathes new life into a beloved literary classic with its vibrant illustrations, engaging storytelling, and a modern twist on the age-old quest for honor and chivalry.
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One of the most striking aspects of this graphic novel is its visual storytelling. Terciero’s vibrant and dynamic illustrations capture the essence of the real world and Lucia’s fantastical adventures. The artwork beautifully reflects the diversity of Mexican and Latin American lore characters and creatures. Lucia’s adventures are not about finding true love but learning to be the “champion of right and good, against justice evil,” and challenging her impulsivity. Lucia knows that being a Knight is more than battles and heroism.
Lucia is very proud of her Abuelo and constantly wants to emulate him despite most of the town, including her mother, believing he was seeing things and dubbing him “Abuelo Loco.” And though it’s frustrating that Lucia’s mother punishes Lucia for following Abuelo’s footsteps, it’s comforting to see why Lucia’s mother deters Lucia from chasing the unseen as an immigrant in the United States Lucia’s mother wants nothing more than to fit in and not draw unwanted attention to their family especially because it can put abuela’s immigration status in jeopardy. It humanizes Lucia’s mother in a way that readers understand she, like Lucia, ultimately wants to keep her family safe.
The characterization in Doña Quixote is another strong point. Lucia is a relatable and complex protagonist, juggling the expectations of her family, her heritage, and her desire to defend her community from danger. Rey Terciero has successfully reimagined a timeless classic for a contemporary audience. By bringing issues of identity, social justice, and empowerment to the forefront, the graphic novel offers a fresh perspective on honor and chivalry. It serves as a reminder that heroes can come from all walks of life.
Doña Quixote: Rise of the Knight encourages us to believe in ourselves and stand up for what’s right, no matter the odds.
To what extent are there BIPOC leading characters or perspectives?
How well does the author avoid writing BIPOC experiences through the white gaze?
To what extent does the author challenge white-centered beliefs?
How well does the book explore nuances between intersectional identities?