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Happy Friday! We are back again with another B+S Book Review… this time on the amazingly illustrated graphic novel Witchy  by Ariel Slamet Ries. I’ve always wanted to venture into the world of graphic novels, but never took the plunge and just actually bought one, which is crazy because I looooooooved comic books and strips as a kid. Well, luckily for me, OwlCrate saved me once again and decided to do the hard work for me and include my very first graphic novel in their May box.

(If you don’t know what OwlCrate is, just click the name… I fangirl over them waaaaay too much, but they’re worth it.)

Let me just say that I don’t know how I’ve been putting off graphic novels for soo long. I love them… they’re amazing! It was so much fun to read and definitely broke up the monotonous that comes from reading thick novels with no pictures time and time again. 

I won’t get too much into what I loved about reading Witchy… you still have the review to get through, remember? 

Release Date: September 2019

Publisher: Oni Press 

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to fund my coffee drinking habit if you use these links to make a purchase. You will not be charged extra, and you’ll keep me supplied with more money to buy more books for my bookshelf. It’s a win for everyone, really.

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?

The Cover:

So, as I said in my intro, I received this graphic novel from OwlCrate, and, if you didn’t know, all OwlCrate books of the month have an exclusive cover design. The cover I first laid eyes on is the green cover, not the purplish-blue one. Honestly, I am glad that the OC version was the one I saw first because there was so much about it that made me want to know more about what the story was all about. 

First, the girl on the front looked fierce and pissed off! She definitely had revenge in her eyes, and I wanted to know who did what to her, and what she was going to do about it. I also wanted to know why her main focus of weaponry was that dagger and not magic, especially when the book is called Witchy. Hmmm…

I’ve never been a big fan of the color green. It just was never my color. However, the way the various hues of green were mixed with the oranges and the black,  alongside that intense illustration of the girl on the front, I felt that this cover just screamed that this book was going to be an action-packed, whimsical fantasy (probably somewhere in the forest-based off the greens and the feathers flying around) and I really wanted to experience that story-line. 

 

The Synopsis: 

“In the witch kingdom Hyalin, the strength of your magic is determined by the length of your hair.”

Are you kidding me?! This first line of the Goodread’s synopsis told me everything that I needed to know. I knew from reading this line that I was going to love the premise of this story. 

Ok, so, I have locs or as some call them dreadlocks (which I don’t agree with, but we won’t get into that now…). Anywho, ever since I started loc’ing my hair, I’ve felt that my new source of confidence and power derived from my locs. I mean, I felt like they truly brought me into my Goddess form, and the longer they got, the more confident I became. Well, when I saw this line, I knew that I would connect with that reality very well, and it just sealed the deal for me to put Witchy at the top of my TBR. 

I also really loved the dynamic that you’re revered for having long hair and strong magic, but if your hair was too long, it could be your demise. That idea of being great and loved, but being too great and hated is a common theme in some of the best movies and TV shows I’ve watched, and you don’t get it too much in books, so I was definitely digging the vibe. 

 

I absolutely loved Witchy!!!

I couldn’t have asked for a better first graphic novel experience. The illustrations are beautiful. The story-line drew me in, and the dialogue was cute, funny, and believable. I mean what more can a girl ask for? 

The book also had a strong LGBTQ theme throughout it, and I absolutely adored the way the community was represented in the story. Sure, I’ve read plenty of books that touched on same-sex couples and bi-curious characters, but this book took it to another level and did it in a way that didn’t seem forced or something of a spectacle. You could see a strong, female character who was drawn very masculine and adored and thought of as “the hot guy in school” by all of the other girls surrounding her. It was perfect. A world that I want to see a lot more in books. 

By the end of the book, I didn’t feel dissatisfied or thinking that more could’ve been done or something should’ve been done differently. The development of the characters was spot on, and you were left anxiously waiting for the rest of their story-lines to unfurl. 

Overall… I would say that this book left me bewitched and has scored a perfect score in the B+S Book Review Archives

Nyneve Ahmadzai

Nyneve is your MC and her and her family are no strangers to the injustices of their witch kingdom, Hyalin. Nyneve knows the dangers of showcasing who you truly are in Hyalin and meticulously plans her day and her life to stay under the radar. 

The thing about Nyneve, for me, is that she’s the first MC whose character is still in major development by the time I finished the book. We know that she loves her family and will do anything to protect them and herself. We know that she’s incredibly smart and loves history and libraries (which I STAN about her). We know that she has the potential to be like the greatest witch ever, but she’s not confident in her abilities; and even if she were, she would feel like her gifts were a curse. 

We’re left still figuring her out, just as she is, by the end of the book, but it’s not frustrating in the least for me. I can honestly say that this made the journey feel more authentic, and I’m really looking forward to seeing who she becomes.

Veda Ahmadzai

Veda is Nyneve’s mom and she completely stole my heart. I fell in love with Veda immediately… she’s such a mom!

And I mean that in the best way possible. Your first impression of her is in the kitchen, using magic to get her chores done, dancing around, and loving life. She sets Nyneve straight when she needs to, and showers her with love to send her off. 

Veda is incredibly gifted but humble. She loves Nyneve with every fiber of her being and would do anything to protect her. One thing you don’t want to do is mess with her Baby Cub because she turns into Momma Bear really quickly, and it’s not going to be pretty.

Another thing I loved about Veda is the way she’s drawn. She’s super cute and curvy, and she reminds me of what a stay-at-home mom would look like. Her long wavy hair, tucked behind a scarf, the long tunic over lazy, comfortable pants, and boots able to withstand work around the home and yard. She feels like home when you look at her… I love that. 

 

Dai “Prill” Si Yue

Oh, Prill, the quintessential bully with a heart that every real coming of age story needs.  Prill is tough, she definitely doesn’t take any crap from absolutely anyone, and she has the talent to back up the attitude. Prill prides herself on being the best of the best, and if you stand in her way you better be ready for the showdown of your life. Prill has a lot to prove and she has real dreams and ambitions that she works hard to achieve. 

There’s another thing about Prill that makes her a complete badass, but I’ll save that for you to find out yourself…

Mongke Batu

Batu is Nyneve’s best friend… you can even say he’s her only friend, and he understands her better than anyone else outside her Mom. Batu is gentle and considerate. He’s a mediator, and a shoulder to lean on. 

When Prill moved to Buhok (their little village/town), during the time when Nyneve was absent due to the tragedy that struck her family, she became besties with Batu. Now that Nyneve is back around again, Batu basically spends his time trying to build the bridge between his two best friends since he cares deeply for the both of them, and would love if they all could just hang out and be happy together. 

Batu is another character whose potential is yet to be discovered, but something tells me that he’s going to be a lot more than what the first book reveals as well. 

What can I say, except: 

I LOVED IT! 

That’s it. Nothing else. The End.

 Seriously though, this being my first graphic novel, and not entirely sure if I would be into them, I’m pleasantly surprised that they were more than what I expected… and now I want more!

Reading a graphic novel was a great way to break up the monotony that I was experiencing reading 400+ page novels back to back to back. It was nice to have a great story to follow and stunning illustrations to visualize the world for you. 

 

Seeing that this my first 5 heart read in a long time, I think that we all can agree that Witchy is definitely on my “Bri Recommends” list.

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