Fence, Vol. 4: Rivals by C.S. Pacat & Johanna the Mad

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1.) Vol. 1 ★★★★★
2.) Vol. 2 ★★★★
3.) Vol. 3 ★★★★★

“I just want you to know Seiji already has a rival, and it’s me.”

This volume really felt like a new start to this series! Tryouts are officially over, and we get to finally see Kings Row Boys School Fencing Team try to be a team! Up until this point, we have seen all of these players dueling one on one with each other, but in this installment we get to see them finally trying to work together, during their first practice match!

And…. Fence is still the slowest burn romance(s) of all time. So many ships are so close, yet so far away, from sailing. From Nicholas and Seiji, to Harvard and Aiden, to (be still, my heart) Bobby and Dante! They are all precious, and I’m rooting for them all so very hard, but oh my gosh is the wait going to kill us all! But I trust it will so worth it. And meanwhile, we get all the great content whilst we wait.

I always do a breakdown on my thoughts and feeling of each individual issue for Fence. So, the next portion of this review will have SPOILERS! Please use caution if you haven’t read this installment yet, because I will be talking about some of the themes and events that each issue had inside.

➽ CHAPTER THIRTEEN
Truly a new start for this story, especially when this first chapter starts out with Jesse Coste coming to the school for Seiji. This whole bind-up is the “I want Seiji to be my rival” bind-up and I respect it. And Nicholas is truly having none of it. We also get to see the coach working a lot with Nicholas, and I’m rooting for him to truly be the best fencer to ever fence! Also, the Nicholas and Seiji heart to heart before bed, please, my heart. Oh! And they finally got uniforms and they have the most precious reactions to them!

➽ CHAPTER FOURTEEN
Kings Row is officially going to understand that team fencing is different from individual fencing, because they are having their first practice match against MLC! This issue actually helped me learn a lot about Fencing and scoring and I was really impressed! Bobby is the most precious, and I’m rooting for my short baby always. Aiden ditches the match to go on a date, so Eugene is officially in!

➽ CHAPTER FIFTEEN
We quickly learn that MLC is very smart, and Kings Row is very predictable! Harvard is the best boy in the world though, and after some advice from Aiden on his date, he subs Nicholas in for himself and MLC truly didn’t expect it!

➽ CHAPTER SIXTEEN
Nicholas does amazing, and we get to see his practicing with the coach really playing off. But we also get to see the amazing results from just unconditionally supporting one another and being there for one another. And the boys start fencing like they are on a team! The end of this installment truly made me want to scream in the best way possible, but also cry because I have no idea when I’m going to get another installment in this story! But Seiji helping Nicholas was a lot, and Aiden and Harvard are always a lot a lot. Again, all the slowest burns to ever burn.

“Go Aiden’s teammate!”

Fence is truly just one of my favorite graphic series of all time. I am so in love, and I will read this slow burn until the end of my days, if CS Pacat allows me the honor. I am also very curious about the novelization that is coming out soon too, Fence: Striking Distance by Sarah Rees Brennan! I just want everything from this world, this school, this team, and these characters! But truly, if you’re looking for something funny, sweet, hopefully, and very angsty, I truly recommend you giving this series a try!

4
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Fence, Vol. 3 by C.S. Pacat & Johanna the Mad

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1.) Vol. 1 ★★★★★
2.) Vol. 2 ★★★★

I truly feel like this graphic novel series just gets better and better each installment. I feel like after I finished the last page of this volume, I felt like the story (and real angst) is just now going to be starting and I truly cannot wait. This truly has been such a purely joyous serotonin ride getting to this point, and I already can’t wait to see what happens next. And I also predict the next issues will have a much different tone, as well.

But if you don’t know what Fence is all about, it basically follows some kids trying to join their boarding school’s fencing team! And some of the kids need to make the team in order to be able to stay at the school! And some kids are really just trying to live out their dreams of becoming famous fencers. In this installment in particular, we get to see so many of the kid’s families! And we also get to see some really pivotal matches that will dictate the future for some of these fencers!

The stars of this graphic novel are for sure Nicholas and Seiji, who are currently maybe having the slowest burn romance of all romance! But Bobby and Eugene must be protected forever and I vow to make it my new life mission. And Harvard is my favorite character, and not only would I give my life for his, I also want to remind this fictional character that he deserves the world and to never settle for the best. [rest]

I always do a breakdown on my thoughts and feeling of each individual issue for Fence. So, the next portion of this review will have SPOILERS! Nothing too pivotal, but I will talk about some of the themes and events that each issue had inside.

➽ CHAPTER NINE
Aiden lost to Harvard! Nicholas has a chance at making the team, he only has to win against Kally! Seiji is still very much still thinking about Jesse, and him and Nicholas get in quite the confrontation speaking about him.

➽ CHAPTER TEN
Bobby has my whole entire heart. I love the seeing all the diverse families of color and their relationships! Yet, both Nicholas and Seiji do not have families there.

➽ CHAPTER ELEVEN
Jay vs. Aiden (and maybe they hooked up before this match). I love Eugene and his family a lot. Truly like so much pure friendship going on this issue, please hold my bursting heart. And when coach says “I’m proud of you” I still can’t stop crying. I’m too attached to these kids.

➽ CHAPTER TWELVE
Seiji and Nicholas and their dorm situation. Two reserves = friendship. “Welcome to the fencing team!” and the pure serotonin this issue gave me. And then Jesse shows up and makes me question everything and where this next part of the story is going to go.

Overall, this is really just a top tier graphic novel series if you’re looking for a diverse cast of sports gays! I really recommend it with my whole heart, and it is truly one of my favorites of all time! And again, I really can’t wait to see what happens in Vol. 4, because I truly suspect that the entire story has just now started to begin!

5

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Fence Vol. 1 by C.S. Pacat & Johanna the Mad

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Friends, I love this story, this art, and these characters with the sum of my being. This is such a diverse cast, from sexuality (seriously, I think everyone is queer), to race, from social and economic backgrounds, to different family dynamics; there is so much to love about Fence. Like, C.S. Pacat’s writing and Johanna the Mad’s art is honestly a match made in Heaven, and these four issues were absolutely perfection.

Fence surrounds a boy’s boarding school, where many of the students are trying out for the fencing team. They all come with different levels of experience, with different strengths and weakness, but they are all competing for one of three open spots on the varsity team. And even though everyone wants to make the team, it is absolutely dire for Nicholas Cox.

“I know I can fence.”

I so very easily fell in love with each and every single one of these characters. And I found these amazing character layouts on C.S. Pacat’s Twitter!

And the “treasure” and “trouble” are honestly a gift from a higher power. And, don’t be me wrong, Nicholas and Seiji and their dynamic is perfection, but I honestly fell the most in love with Harvard and Aiden. Like, I can tell you all right now that that is going to be the ship I go down with. But my favorite character is easily Bobby! He completely made the comic for me, and everything about him just felt like a shining light at this boarding school!

Okay, so like with every graphic novel that I review, I always do a breakdown on my thoughts and feeling of each individual issue. So, the next portion of this review will be a little more SPOILER-Y! Obviously, I won’t give away anything too pivotal, but I will talk about some of the themes that each issue had inside.

Trigger and content warnings for minor bullying and for abandonment.

CHAPTER ONE
Oh my gosh, this first issue was everything! I loved being introduced to these characters, and I loved how Nicholas and Seiji literally first meet because they have to fence one another. I also loved getting to see a little more into Nicholas’ backstory and why he wanted to fence in the first place, and seeing him try to healthily fill that abandonment void with something positive.

CHAPTER TWO
This issue lets the reader see the boarding school that is really going to be the starting point of this story. It is six months since chapter one, and Nicholas is finally at Kings Row Boys School, where he hopes to get a scholarship from making varsity fence. We are introduced to a ton of new amazing characters that completely captured my heart; Bobby, Harvard, Aiden. And seeing the juxtaposition of Nicholas and Jesse Coste was really moving and powerful. I just want the best for my fence babies. Oh, and Nicholas also finds out who his roommate is going to be, and I actually screamed with pure joy.

CHAPTER THREE
We learn in this issue that there are only three available spots on the varsity team. And we also get to see all the people trying out’s different weaknesses and strengths. Nicholas is still hurting from an emotional wound that has never healed his entire life. Seiji still thinks he is God’s gift to fencing. We get introduced to Dante and Kally, who I easily fell in love with, too. And the round robin tournament for the three spots at stake begins.

CHAPTER FOUR
We get to see the fencer’s matches and that’s all I really want to say. But the ending of this bind-up volume was so damn brutal. Like, I need so much more! And I don’t want to way for Volume Two in January. I loved this, and it is easily my favorite graphic novel of 2018, so far.

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