I love a cosy witch story, so when I saw this beautiful graphic novel pop up on NetGalley, and realised that not only did it have witches, it had queer witches, I just had to request it!
Book: Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker
Read before: No
Ownership: E-ARC provided via NetGalley free of charge. All opinions my own.
This book is one of the most wholesome things I’ve ever read. It’s up there with the Tea Dragon books for that cosy magical vibe (and like the Tea Dragon books, this was initially a webcomic)! There’s a lot of great rep here, too, with two Chinese-American main characters who are complex and realistic; one, Nova, is a queer witch who uses hearing aids, and the other, Tam, is a non-binary werewolf. The two of them used to be good friends as children, and when Tam rocks back up in town at the same time as a demon is spotted in the forest, the two reconnect as they try to defeat the evil. The romance between Nova and Tam is gorgeous and believable – it helps that the background of their being childhood friends is really well expressed. They’re really great for each other, and help each other to be strong not only in terms of fighting actual demons, but also the emotional demons they both carry. Tam’s sense of humour is super accurate to the queer teens I know, too!
The side characters are great, too, with my favourites being Nova’s grandmothers – I can’t remember when I last saw an older lesbian couple in a book, let alone one which has such a loving and comfortable relationship. They run a bookshop with a magic section, and are basically super adorable as well as being super badness – they’re a great example of how softness and strength go together. The Nanas are so supportive of Nova and Tam; for example, when Tam informs them of their new pronouns, both Nanas instantly accept this and apologise for misgendering them. Their love for Nova suffuses the pages, and is part of what makes this book feel so warm.
Another thing that brings the warmth is the soft and gorgeous artwork. The colours are autumnal, the knitwear is fluffy, and the hair is full of life! The ARC I read had an uncoloured section towards the end, but the rest of the book had such lovely colouring. I particularly loved the variety of adorable looking forest creatures! Look at that little moth guy! (image from Chapter 3, Page 4, taken from the webcomic site)
So, if you’re looking for a sweet witchy read, this is definitely the book for you! I highly recommend it for fans of The Prince and the Dressmaker or The Tea Dragon Society, as well as those who love Kiki’s Delivery Service. Five out of five cats from me!