In March 2019, I saw that 12 issues of the Fence graphic novels written by C.S. Pacat were available on Scribd, and immediately decided to give them a try. I’d heard so many people on BookTube rave about this series! However, I didn’t want the hype to have an impact on my enjoyment of the issues either so I tried to lower my expectations before going in. I needn’t have worried about being let down whatsoever. I ended up binge-reading all 13 issues in one day, and am now desperate for news on the next volumes.
Yes, I am fully aware that Fence volume 3 technically hasn’t been released yet. However, that vol. includes issues 9 through 12, which I read separately. It was easier to mark the three volumes as read rather than the 13 separate issues.
Fence by C.S. Pacat, Johanna the Mad, Joana LaFuente – ★★★★★ – a new favorite
Nicholas Cox is determined to prove himself in the world of competitive fencing, and earn his place alongside fencing legends like the dad he never knew, but things get more complicated when he’s up against his golden-boy half-brother, as well as sullen fencing prodigy, Seiji Katayama.
Nicholas, the illegitimate son of a retired fencing champion, is a scrappy fencing wunderkind, and dreams of getting the chance and the training to actually compete. After getting accepted to the prodigious Kings Row private school, Nicholas is thrust into a cut-throat world, and finds himself facing not only his golden-boy half-brother, but the unbeatable, mysterious Seiji Katayama…
I was a bit hesitant to pick this up because I know absolutely nothing about fencing, and was afraid I would miss out on a lot of the story or find it boring. That definitely wasn’t the case here.
This is the story of Nicholas Cox, who is determined to prove himself as a competitive fencer so he can show everyone he is just as good as his dad. Nicholas grew up quite poor, and his dad was never around. Coming face-to-face with his golden-boy half-brother, the one who does receive all the attention from their father, angers Nicholas to no end, and he is determined to prove to the world he is just as good.
However, fencing is an incredibly competitive and expensive sport. Nicholas is at a clear disadvantage as he has never been able to afford the private tutoring needed to push him to the next level. Until he gets a scholarship to Kings Row private school. In order to keep his scholarship though, he needs to make it on the fencing team.
That’s not the only goal Nicholas has in mind though. He also desperately wants to beat Seiji, who has never lost a match. Their rivalry pushes Nicholas to train more and more, and intrigues Seiji as well.
I can’t tell you how much I love these graphic novels. I couldn’t stop reading them! The entire storyline is so tense, because you can’t help but root for Nicholas, who is definitely the underdog in this scenario. Watching him play match after match, trying to figure out whether he’ll make the team or not is incredibly nerve-wracking. It makes for a very captivating read.
While there’s a tense feeling throughout the volumes, I have to admit that the story itself is quite slow. You don’t progress much through the story or time with each volume. At first, that didn’t really bother me because it allows you to get to know the characters more. It also allows the author to make some space for the development of side characters. However, when you reach the end of volume 3 and still have virtually no answers, it becomes somewhat annoying. Especially since I can’t find any information on issue #13 or volume 4.
I presume that when the graphic novels develop further, there will be an M/M romance at the forefront. There’s plenty of chemistry and tension already, so I can’t wait to watch that happen. Seriously, I can’t wait. When will the next volume be released?? Someone help me!
Here’s what it all comes down to: I love the story, I love all the characters, and I love the artwork. I love every single thing about this series.
I feel like I can’t really say much more about this story without ruining all the fun for you all. At this point, all I can really point out is that if you haven’t read the graphic novels yet, you should pick them up. They’re fun and captivating reads. I promise you won’t regret it. I still have to buy myself some paperback volumes because I read them on Scribd earlier but definitely want to own my own copies. Have you read these graphic novels? What did you think of them? Is there any news on the next volume yet?