Review | Tidesong by Wendy Xu

Sophie is a young witch whose mother and grandmother pressure her to attend the Royal Magic Academy–the best magic school in the realm–even though her magic is shaky at best. To train for her entrance exams, Sophie is sent to relatives she’s never met.

Cousin Sage and Great-Aunt Lan seem more interested in giving Sophie chores than in teaching her magic. Frustrated, Sophie attempts magic on her own, but the spell goes wrong, and she accidentally entangles her magic with the magic of a young water dragon named Lir.

Lir is trapped on land and can’t remember where he came from. Even so, he’s everything Sophie isn’t–beloved by Sophie’s family and skilled at magic. With his help, Sophie might just ace her entrance exams, but that means standing in the way of Lir’s attempts to regain his memories. Sophie knows what she’s doing is wrong, but without Lir’s help, can she prove herself?

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This graphic novel was an absolute delight to read – in it we follow Sophie, who is finally getting the opportunity to further her magic and possibly go to a famous magic school. She battles that little voice inside her head that tells her she’s a failure, while also trying to find her place and learn where she really lies in her family. When she meets Lir and learns about the consequences of actions things get a bit more complicated. I really loved the story as it unfolded and Sophie learned more about herself and about interacting with others. The artwork is very Ghibli-esque with an extra dash of cute and perfectly fit the story overall. The color palette had a softer feel to it which I felt was great for the seaside setting and the whimsy of the world.

Wendy Xu is a Brooklyn-based illustrator and comics artist with several upcoming graphic novels from HarperCollins. She is the co-creator of Mooncakes, a young adult fantasy graphic novel published in 2019 from Lion Forge Comics/Oni Press, which has been nominated for Hugo, Ignatz, and GoodReads Choice awards. Her work has been featured on Catapult, B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog, and Tor.com, among other places. Visit her online at www.artofwendyxu.com.

Make sure to check out Tidesong when it comes out on November 16th! Happy reading!

Review | Hex Vet: Witches in Training by Sam Davies

Have you ever wondered where witches’ cats go when they pull a claw? Or what you do with a pygmy phoenix with a case of bird flu? Nan and Clarion have you covered. They’re the best veterinarian witches of all time—or at least they’re trying to be. When an injured rabbit with strange eyes stumbles into their lives, Nan and Clarion have to put down their enchanted potions and face the biggest test of their magical, medical careers. Hex Vet: Witches in Training is an original graphic novel suitable for kids of all ages! From popular web cartoonist Sam Davies (Stutterhug), this book explores a truly spellbinding story about sticking together and helping animals at all costs. Perfect for fans of The Tea Dragon Society and Steven Universe!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This was a super adorable graphic novel perfect for young readers! In it we follow two very different apprentice veterinarian witches as they have a day full of unexpected issues. It was a fun adventure and was a great introduction to the characters and their differing personalities/challenges. It was a fun, quick story and a great set up for further volumes. The colors were more of a restricted palette, but fit the theme perfectly and suited the setting and characters. The perfect word for it really is adorable and I look forward to seeing more of the series and characters.

Happy reading!

Review | Crystal Cadets by Anne Toole

Cadets Go! Join this team of darkness-fighting, world-saving, power-packed teen girls from all over the world on their first adventure!

Zoe has always felt out of place; her foster parents are great and all, but she’s long felt like something was missing. That is, of course, until she discovers a mysterious gem left to her by her birth mother and her whole universe gets flipped around! When the crystal grants Zoe mysterious powers of light she becomes the Diamond Cadet, and she’s not the only one; suddenly she’s meeting new friends who shoot flames and glowing green arrows. It’s all fun at first, but when The Darkness possesses Zoe’s foster parents her only choice is to join this wild group of action-hero girls, traveling the globe to defeat The Darkness and find a cure!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I found this one when browsing the selection of items in Comixology and upon Katie O’Neill was the illustrator I had to pick it up. This was such a fun read, following a group of girls as they locate more of the Cadets and work to banish ‘the darkness’ from the world, while accepting that it will never truly be gone. They definitely had Sailor Moon vibes in some ways, but with a fun spin of added mythological companions and modern settings. There’s some squabbling within the group of girls which sometimes seem natural, but other times a little extreme. The art style is bright and fun, which perfectly fit the characters and theme of the story. It looks like there won’t be any more to this series, but it did end in such a way that it would be easy to see further issues/volumes.

Happy reading!

Oddball (Sarah’s Scribbles #4) by Sarah Andersen

The fourth book in the enormously popular graphic novel series, the latest collection of Sarah’s Scribbles comics explores the evils of procrastination, the trials of the creative process, the cuteness of kittens, and the beauty of not caring about your appearance as much as you did when you were younger. When it comes to humorous illustrations of the awkwardness and hilarity of millennial life, Sarah’s Scribbles is without peer.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

As someone who has followed Sarah’s work for a long time, I was excited to see she has another collection coming out. In it we have a collection of Sarah’s webcomics covering a range of topics from being an introvert, living in the time we live in, being artistic and more. I especially love her comics that highlight awkwardness and of course cats. This collection also highlights a few that are references to how hard the last couple years have been. Sarah does not disappoint with this collection and it is a great addition to the series.

Happy reading!

Review | Oh My Gods! by Stephanie Cooke, Insha Fitzpatrick and Juliana Moon

Karen is just an average thirteen-year-old from New Jersey who loves to play video games with her friends and watch movies with her mom. But when she moves to Greece to live with her eccentric, mysterious father, Zed, suddenly everything she thought about herself—about life—is up in the air.

Starting a new school can be difficult, but starting school at Mt. Olympus Junior High, where students are gods and goddesses, just might take the cake. Especially when fellow classmates start getting turned to stone. Greek mythology . . . a little less myth, a little more eek! And if Karen’s classmates are immortal beings, who does that make her?

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This graphic novel was a cute take on the Greek gods and what would happen if Zeus had a daughter that knew nothing about the gods and suddenly has to move in with him in Mt. Olympus. It was a fun modern story of Karen suddenly being among the gods and goddesses in a high school setting with a mystery that they band together to solve. I really liked Karen’s developing relationship with her father and how she bonded with some of the gods she met. It was an adorable story all in all.

Happy reading!

Review | The Curse of the Crystal Cavern

The rollicking Pathfinders Society treasure hunt continues as the five campers from Mystery of the Moon Tower get swept away in a new adventure. This action-packed graphic novel is full of fun, magic, and friendship–sure to appeal to fans of the Last Kids on Earth and Lumberjanes series.

Fresh from their hair-raising adventures in The Mystery of the Moon Tower, Kyle, Vic, Beth, Harry, and Nate are now hot on the trail of something big! A secret staircase leads down into the unknown, setting them on an exciting chase for clues left by the wealthy explorer Henry Merriweather, who was rumored to have hidden away a priceless treasure. Are the legends real? Where will the five friends end up? And what dangers will they encounter along the way? Because as they’ve come to learn, everything comes at a price…

In this exciting graphic novel adventure series, richly illustrated by Eisner-award-winning artist Steve Hamaker, the Pathfinders go ever deeper into the labyrinthian Merriweather mystery–and hope they’ll come out the other side!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’ve been eagerly anticipating this one since I read the first book and am so glad I grabbed it! I’m not going to go too much into the story as it picks up right after book one finishes, but we are following the same group of pathfinders as they are continuing to decipher the riddles left behind as well as deal with occasional time jumps, dangers from outsiders and more. I really liked how they came together even more in this one and leaned on each other for their unique strengths. This is a great middle grade adventure story and I can’t wait for the third one to come out.

Happy reading!

Review | Heavy Vinyl, Vol. 1: Riot on the Radio

Film and TV director Carly Usdin (Suicide Kale) teams up with breakout artist Nina Vakueva (Lilith’s Word) for a new series that’s music to our ears! New Jersey, 1998. Chris has just started the teen dream job: working at Vinyl Mayhem, the local record store. She’s prepared to deal with anything—misogynistic metalheads, grunge wannabes, even a crush on her wicked cute co-worker, Maggie. But when the staff’s favorite singer mysteriously vanishes the night before her band’s show in town, Chris finds out her co-workers are doing more than just sorting vinyl… her local indie record store is also a front for a teen girl vigilante fight club! Collects the complete limited series.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I didn’t know much about this one going in, but knew there were 90’s references and it was set at a record store, so I was sold. This was so fun! I loved the twist as to what happens at the record store and all the relationships that were forged and grew on the pages. The art style was fun, expressive and full of color and yes, the time frame was right up my alley. I will definitely be checking our more of this series to see where the story takes us!

Happy reading!

Review | Witchy by Ariel Slamet Ries

In the witch kingdom Hyalin, the strength of your magic is determined by the length of your hair. Those that are strong enough are conscripted by the Witch Guard, who enforce the law in peacetime and protect the land during war. However, those with hair judged too long are pronounced enemies of the kingdom, and annihilated. This is called a witch burning.

Witchy is a comic about the young witch Nyneve, who is haunted by the death of her father and the threat the Witch Guard poses to her own life. When conscription rolls around, Nyneve has a choice to make; join the institution complicit in her father’s death, or stand up for her ideals?

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one, but saw it available in Comixology unlimited so decided to pick it up. I did enjoy the art style and the fantastical world. While I felt a good amount of back story and world building was included, I think the info page about the world itself should have been in the beginning rather at the end, as it would have better set it up. For the most part you understand the motives of characters, but there were definitely a few things that were left ambiguous, or weren’t really explained. There are definitely a lot of questions to be answered, but I’m not sure if more is going to be told or if this is meant to be a stand alone. The way a number of things were left up in the air makes me hope there will be further volumes. I would be interested in continuing the story.

Happy reading!

Review | The Curie Society by Heather Einhorn, Janet Harvey, Adam Staffaroni, Joan Hilty and Sonia Liao

A covert team of young women–members of the Curie society, an elite organization dedicated to women in STEM–undertake high-stakes missions to save the world.

An action-adventure original graphic novel, The Curie Society follows a team of young women recruited by an elite secret society–originally founded by Marie Curie–with the mission of supporting the most brilliant female scientists in the world. The heroines of the Curie Society use their smarts, gumption, and cutting-edge technology to protect the world from rogue scientists with nefarious plans. Readers can follow recruits Simone, Taj, and Maya as they decipher secret codes, clone extinct animals, develop autonomous robots, and go on high-stakes missions.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Anything promoting females in more STEM roles makes me happy, so this one was an intriguing concept to me – then you add in a secret society and I’m sold. I really enjoyed this story and the way the three girls interacted and learned to work together. Building a team is never easy and that was definitely represented, but seeing how they were able to combine their strengths and work together, as well as the adventure they were on, was really nice. I also really enjoyed all the materials in the back such as a glossary and prominent figures.

Happy reading!

Review | Taproot by Keezy Young

Blue is having a hard time moving on. He’s in love with his best friend. He’s also dead. Luckily, Hamal can see ghosts, leaving Blue free to haunt him to his heart’s content. But something eerie is happening in town, leaving the local afterlife unsettled, and when Blue realizes Hamal’s strange ability may be putting him in danger, Blue has to find a way to protect him, even if it means . . . leaving him. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This graphic novel followed a gardener, Hamal, who can see ghosts. I thought this was absolutely adorable and quirky and really enjoyed watching Hamal come into his own. The art style was whimsical and bright, which was so lovely to read. I did feel like this could easily have been more little vignettes into Hamal’s life after the initial story, and there was a little snippet of something similar at the end. All in all this was a very enjoyable read and I would definitely read more.

Happy reading!