Book Review: Moonstruck Volume One: Magic to Brew by Grace Ellis and Shae Beagle
This graphic novel was my Christmas pick. It appealed to me straight away. The cute cover stands out amongst the chaos of dark and moody graphic novels. AND it had Grace Ellis on the spine!
I’m always on the
Moonstruck Volume One opens in a coffee shop. Where our main character, Julie, works. Julie and colleague and buddy, Chet, share stories of romance and awkwardness. We follow Julie and her budding romance with fellow werewolf cutie, Selena. We also get to know Julie’s internal struggles as she comes to terms with her own werewolf duality.
The story quickly hops from a slice-of-life story to an adventure. The very essence of Julie’s world is in danger. Somehow, it’s up to Julie, Chet, Selena to stop a creepy magician from destroying their magical world. So, they recruit their odd-ball, supernatural friends and battle to save the day!
None of the characters
I love this. Beagle’s wonderful art perfectly captures the fantasy of each individual. However, the fantasy of each character doesn’t take away from their humanity at all. Ellis and Beagle, have thought carefully about each how each character will relate to their readers.
The main characters are a hug for LGBTQ+ readers. The novel is inclusive but never patronising. The sexual and gender identities of our magical characters are present and fun. Non-binary, lesbian and questioning characters are front and centre. But their sexuality is not the story! Instead, the slice-of-life story is refreshing, open and bingeable.
Quickly, a shout out to the background characters! They are cute, fluffy and incredibly detailed. I got completely distracted by the artwork. So, I had to go back and reread the dialogue to remember what was going on.
Moonstruck Volume One was easy to read. Fun, cute and fast-paced this graphic novel kept me in a happy little bubble all the way through. Having said that, the story itself was not a happy bubble. There are conflicts, real conflicts, that kept the story interesting. For example, Julie and Selena’s approach to werewolf life causes rifts in their relationship. And Chet’s identity crisis (I won’t give details because it’s a bit spoiler-y) is honest and raw. In other words, these wonderful moments that keep the story balanced and real, despite its fluffy, pastel bubble.
However, for me, there was too much happening. There was chaos to the action that I couldn’t quite harness. The villain, the magician character, wasn’t as fleshed out as I wanted them to be. Although, I was able to feel the jeopardy of their situation it didn’t have the devastating impact I desperately wanted it to. As a result, the ending didn’t get me.
Above all, I suggest giving this graphic novel a read. It was easy, fun and lovely to look at. I fell in love with the characters from page one and that is what kept me reading. The story would have been more lovely if they’d focused a little less on world-changing danger. Instead, focusing on the real relationships they’ve lovingly crafted. I desperately wanted more fun, fuzzy interactions and less ‘evil-but-not-really’ villains.
Facts & Ratings
Publisher: Image Comics
Publish Date: 27th March 2018
Time to Read:
Book Review: Moonstruck Volume One Rating
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