A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.
Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.
One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home.
Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.
I had seen this talked about a lot and so when I got an ARC from Netgalley, I sat down with a cup of tea and read it (I do love how quick graphic novels are sometimes). And this is just as cute as I was promised.
Nova is a teen witch who helps her grandmothers out in their magical bookshop when she goes to investigate talk of a white wolf out in the forest. While out there, she meets up with Tam, an old childhood friend, and helps them with investigating the reason why they’re on their own in the forest.
This is just adorable. Nova and Tam both have their own character arcs to go through in this book but the two of them together just felt really sweet and when they ended up getting together, it just felt like it was a natural part of their existing friendship – which was impressive considering it happened in the first hundred pages or so. I liked how Nova had a good existing support system and her grandmothers and best friend just accept Tam as they are.
The world-building of this is exactly what I want from all those urban fantasy/cosy mystery books I read. The magic is a secret part of the world but also fairly open, there’s no huge angst about it being a secret or Nova or Tam not having to tell anyone and the magic itself, along with the forest spirits, is really lovely and comforting. It makes me think of Kiki’s Delivery Service all over again. Not to mention it fit in nicely with the plot as the magic itself didn’t get too dark, it was what certain people did with it that caused the darkness.
The colours and style of the illustrations fit the cosy, light fantasy theme really well and I adore how Nova and Tam are both drawn, together and apart.
One little nitpick is that when the big bad is taken care of, I would have liked a little more wrap up, a little more talk about what Nova and Tam are going to do now. We know what they’re going to do but I would have liked to see a longer conversation about where and are you sure and all that. But that is mostly personal preference.
I was going to give this a 4.5 stars but I think I’m going to bump this up to a 5 because when the finished version comes out, in full colour all the way through, I’m probably going to end up buying a copy.