Review by Booklist Review
People are notoriously underestimating Cast, including her teacher and her family. She has big dreams of becoming a Smith, even though this powerful profession has all but been lost to the sands of time. Smiths were formidable users of science and technology who fought in the recent wars that decimated much of society. When the mysterious Ms. Clock comes by, Cast impresses her enough with her skills and gumption that Ms. Clock decides to take her on as her Striker, for Ms. Clock is actually a Smith! This story blends science, adventure, and some supernatural abilities akin to magic into a steampunk crusade to help make the world a better place. There are a lot of action-packed panels full of life and lots of zoom lines in this fast-paced story of self-discovery and altruism. This might appeal to readers of Fullmetal Alchemist looking for something a little more lighthearted or even fans of Trigun who enjoy western-inspired, quippy stories.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Cast Striker--a take-charge teen scientist portrayed with dark skin, locs, and a robotic left hand--dreams of becoming a SMITH, one of the legendary skilled engineers and fighters who dedicate their lives to protecting others. But no SMITHs have been seen for years, and Cast's teacher refuses her request to enter a competition that tests for SMITH potential, even after she builds herself a prosthetic hand from scrap. Frustrated, Cast looks for ways to continue improving her engineering skills beyond conventional education. Meanwhile, her older brother Fender becomes embroiled in a scheme smuggling ancient war tech. A chance meeting with Philomena Clock, a supernaturally powerful, pale-skinned older woman and the last known SMITH, leads to Cast becoming her apprentice. Intricately detailed art, overflowing with steampunk-esque tech and unique characters portrayed with varying abilities and skin tones, evokes the energy and exhilaration of classic shonen manga. Galadima and Jones deliver an immersive reading experience complete with pulse-pounding action sequences and an amiable supporting cast led by a resilient protagonist. This tech-driven graphic novel series opener promises deeper lore and mysteries in subsequent volumes. Ages 13--up. (Feb.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 7--10--In this manga-style graphic novel, Cast is a young Black girl determined to help her family by becoming a SMITH, a legendary group of engineering fighters. Unfortunately, there are a number of problems with her plan; her town doesn't offer many educational opportunities, the SMITHs were thought to have been destroyed in the last war, and having only one hand means Cast's teacher doesn't believe she can do the complex tasks required for the position. When a mysterious substitute teacher takes an interest in Cast, she is given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to prove her dedication as a SMITH's apprentice. Cast's situation quickly changes from a life of limited possibilities to an epic journey of nonstop skirmishes as she uses science and combat skills to protect the helpless. Following in the tradition of action-packed shonen manga, this title leads readers through a steampunk world of gloriously excessive fight scenes where the villains consistently underestimate Cast and her mentor's abilities. The energetic black-and-white illustrations perfectly convey the over-the-top intensity of both the fight scenes and Cast's spirited personality. VERDICT This action-packed graphic novel adventure featuring tenacious female leads will leave shonen manga fans counting down to future volumes.--Amanda Melilli
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A young Black girl with a disability and a zest for science and engineering strives against the odds. Cast dreams of being an engineer. She particularly dreams of becoming a member of SMITH--a traditionally predominantly male group of engineer warriors who create tools to help people. Cast, who does not have a left hand, attends school in a poor neighborhood where STEM subjects are not taught, but she enjoys experimenting and building her own creations. Nevertheless, she is told by her White home economics teacher that with these disadvantages, not to mention her gender, she cannot even apply for the SMITH mentorship contest. But Cast remains determined to try, building herself a prosthetic hand. And as it happens, she impresses teacher Philomena Clock, who also reads White and is a SMITH. She accepts Cast as an apprentice in the role of striker, an assistant who will help her on her missions. Philomena plans to train and teach Cast all she needs to know to succeed at her dream and support the SMITH mission. Will Cast prove to be up to the task despite all the dangers that await her? Galadima and Jones' graphic novel is filled with action and adventure and touches on multiple social themes. It merges a fun atmosphere with serious topics like discrimination in ways that are digestible for teen readers. The lively illustrations have an appealing steampunk aesthetic. Readers will eagerly anticipate more entries. A fantastic, refreshing series opener. (Manga. 13-16) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.