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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Rayven Choi: Koreamerica is the first graphic novel in the Rayven Choi series, written by Shequeta Smith. A man kneels in the woods, mocking her, daring her to pull the trigger. She is filled with so much hatred, loathing and anger. BANG! Rayven’s obsessive thoughts overwhelm her constantly. Lying on a psychiatrist’s couch, Rayven recalls her childhood, with focus on the day that altered her destiny. Her memories take her back to twenty years earlier on a train, when Rayven’s father had just returned from military service on Christmas Eve. He tells his wife and daughter that he has just one more thing to do and then he is home forever. While Rayven is in the bathroom, killers storm the train and execute everybody on board. Rayven watches as her parents are killed, including her father, but not before he shoots back, buying her time to escape. Although eventually rescued by the authorities, Rayven is seen as a loose end which must be eliminated. Driven into witness protection, Rayven travels to Korea to be raised by the Choi family. After becoming a master in Hapkido, as well as gaining her Masters in Computer Engineering, Rayven ponders returning to America in order to find her purpose in life. As she hugs her childhood teddy bear, she makes a shocking discovery.
A tale of action, drama and tragedy, Rayven Choi is masterfully created, beautifully illustrated and pulls at the heartstrings like never before. The images drawn throughout are powerful, starting with a man being executed whilst on his knees, before the story moves to a psychiatrist’s office, with Rayven telling of her tragic tale. Growing up with a target on her back since childhood, Rayven goes from being an innocent child with not a care in the world, to being raised on the opposite side of the globe by strict foster parents, mastering martial arts, and reliving the events of her parents’ deaths over and over again. The warrior that she becomes leaves me breathless, desperate to learn more about her and see what happens next in her incredible life. There is so much mystery surrounding the executions on the train, as well as how the killers keep finding her location. Shequeta Smith’s fast-paced, action-packed tale of retribution is one that I enjoyed, and strongly recommend to fans of survivors and budding superheroes in the making.