The Triumph of Zita


The Return of Zita the Spacegirl

When last we left our heroine, Zita the Spacegirl, she had been captured by the forces of galactic oppression. The third volume of Ben Hatke’s all-ages-friendly space adventure serial picks up from that point — Zita is brought before the tyrannical court of Dungeon World, jeered as Zita the Crime Girl, and thrown into a cell to rot, while her friend, Pizzicato the giant mouse, is slated for execution. The only way Zita can save him, even briefly, is by agreeing to work in the mines of the planet as a slave. Her only companions in her cell are Femur, a talking skeleton, and Ragpile, a talking, um, ragpile. And her only ally is a mysterious figure wearing a blue tentacled cloak…

Can Zita make an escape? Can she survive slavery and betrayal? Can she keep the villains from finding and enslaving Earth? Will her many friends ever manage to find her before it’s too late? And most important of all — Will Zita be able to save everyone?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Rousing, gloriously fun science fantasy. It’s a little darker than the previous books — not that they didn’t have their moments of darkness, too — but after all, the heroine spends so much of this story trapped in a dungeon breaking rocks while villains plot the invasion of her homeworld.

But for all the darkness, it just makes Zita’s victory all the more wonderful — and more bittersweet at the same time. It’s a story that can haul you bodily from one emotion to the next, where you exult in the appearance of each long-lost friend, and then cringe at the suggestion that Zita could lose them all again.

You’ve read the first and second volumes of these books, right? You loved the cosmic dust out of ’em, right? You’re definitely going to want to pick this one up.

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