Book Review: Fence Volume 1 by C. S. Pacat

fence vol 1

I love this graphic novel so much and I can’t talk about it enough. C.S. Pacat is an excellent storyteller and is great at giving us a cast of wonderfully diverse characters. And I don’t think anyone can write an enemies to lovers dynamic better than her.

This is the story of a group of fencing students at Kings Row Boarding School, with the main focus on Nicholas – a scholarship student who needs to qualify into the school team if he is to be able to continue. He has a tragic backstory due to being abandoned by his father, but he has channeled all his rage into hardwork so that he is able to compete at fencing. However, being from an economically challenging background with not as much formal training as the others makes his life difficult at the school – he is overwhelmed with the way of life, dealing with the competition and absorbing the brutally honest feedback from Coach Williams.

The highlight of this book are definitely all the side characters and their interpersonal dynamics. Seiji is a champion who thinks he is better than everyone and is Nick’s major rival. Being roommates only aggravates their animosity and I can’t wait to see how their relationship will change in the future. Harvard is the captain and the all round good guy who is the always trying to keep the peace. Aiden is his closest friend who also happens to be an arrogant heartless playboy and I can’t wait to see someone take him down a notch in the future. Dante, Kally, Tanner and Eugene are the other fencers and all of them have to compete to make it to the team. And last but not the least is Bobby who is the sweetest and the cutest one and I absolutely adore his friendship with Nick. They confide in each other a lot and it is nice to see Nick have a support system.

The competition is heating up and the beginning of the round robin matches means that the team selection is creeping closer and it’s exciting to guess who will be the final winners. There is also a bunch of possible ships and I see them slowly developing and I can’t wait for the issue where atleast one of my favorite couples will be confirmed. The author is the queen of slow burn and I’m having a lot of fun speculating how Nick and Seiji will ever get together and how explosive that will be. The art style in these graphic novels is very minimalistic but amazing and absolutely perfect for the story. I love that the racial diversity of the cast is captured beautifully. However, Bobby’s depiction is my favorite – his dressing style, his imagination, his expressions – they are all so endearing and I’m always waiting for more panels with him.

Fence has quickly become my favorite graphic novel series and I still have a lot of issues to catch up but I am going to do that soon. I’m probably being lazy because I don’t want it to end soon and just want to savor an exciting story for as long as possible. That is also the reason why this was a quick and logical choice for my challenges for both Contemporary-A-Thon and the ongoing Five Star Readathon. If you love graphic novels or even want to try them for the first time, I highly recommend this one. You will not be disappointed.

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