Author: Grace Ellis
Illustrator: Shae Beagle
Moonstruck, vol. 2
My rating: 4.5 of 5
Werewolf barista and (secretly) aspiring author Julie and her friends score an invitation to a fairy frat party. It’s one of the hottest parties of the year–literally. The entire frat house is bespelled to be a little piece of summer in the midst of Blitheton winter. Fortunately, Julie’s girlfriend Selena is smart enough to keep their entire group from eating or drinking anything. Julie’s friends, the idiot band that the run into at the party . . . not so much. Two of the band members manage to get themselves stuck in the frat house, unable to leave unless the entire band performs at the fraternity’s next party–which would be a lot easier if Mark would get his scrawny vampire butt back to the fraternity instead of refusing to go anywhere near. Naturally, because they’re way too accommodating, Julie, Selena, Chet, and Manuel somehow find themselves trying to sort this all out, only to find themselves caught in a bigger plot–a party war between two separate fairy fraternities. As if they didn’t have enough drama and complications to sort out between themselves already!
I really love the cute fluffiness of this graphic novel series. If you’re in the mood for epic, intricate plots and high stakes, this isn’t really the story you should be picking up. But if you want sweet relationships where the characters are trying to make it work, even as they deal with real struggles like trust issues, then Moonstruck is perfect. Of if you love casual urban fantasy, where all sorts of magical/supernatural beings live normal lives playing computer games, working in coffee shops, playing in bands, and hanging out with friends. Some Enchanted Evening does a good job of showing the growing relationships between this group of friends while providing some solid humor (Mark is an idiot–the whole band are idiots–and Chet’s whole Newpals thing is ridiculous but also amusing). Again, the plot isn’t so much a high-stakes, intense thing, although it does push the characters to deal with some of their issues, which is nice to see. It really does seem like it’s setting us up for something major in the next volume or two, though, especially Cass’s ominous and untold visions being thrown into the mix. The art is consistently super-cute–lots of pastels and fun extras thrown into the background. Recommended.
Author: Grace Ellis
Illustrator: Shae Beagle
My rating: 4.5 of 5
Julie lives in a world where magic and mundane go together seamlessly–for instance, her best friend and fellow barista Chet just happens to also be a centaur. Or at least Chet was a centaur, until they tagged along on a date with Julie and her new girlfriend Selena to a back-alley magic show . . . where the magician stole their magic and left them a normal human. Horrors! Now the friends are on a mission to trap this magician and get Chet’s magic back before any more magical people are hurt.
Moonstruck was one of the sweetest, most charming graphic novels I’ve read in a long time. Right from the start, the cute art and pastel palette are just delightful. Add in the marvelous variety of character designs, not only in the main characters but also in the background, and you’ve got a story that’s visually engaging and charming. There’s a huge amount of diversity presented here, too, but (major kudos to the creators) in a way that feels natural and relatable, not forced or contrived. The characters are who they are, and I love them for it. As for the story, a great deal of it is character building and relationships, both romantic and friendships–lots of great friendships here, and the love story is sweet. Add in the coffee-shop dynamic and some light-hearted humor, and you’ve got a pretty cozy story. But then you’ve also got a certain amount of adventure, as these friends deal with Chet’s loss of magic and their subsequent tracking down and defeating of the magician. It’s a good balance. Probably more than anything, I love the characters and how they deal with real, complex emotions and situations. I love that Julie deals with worries and uncertainty, and I really want to see her backstory explored more in future volumes–like, we know she’s not all about being a werewolf, but why does she not like that about herself? In any case, I would definitely recommend this first volume of Moonstruck, and I’m looking forward to reading more.
AO3 ID: 6385852
Status: Complete (oneshot)
My rating: 4 of 5
Alya watches, baffled (and maybe just a bit scared) as her best friend Marinette’s relationship with her crush Adrien changes epically overnight. As in, one day Marinette struggles to piece together complete sentences around him. The next, she’s arguing the improbabilities of centaur anatomy with him. Scary weird. . . . And weirder still, some weeks later, as Paris’s superhero duo Ladybug and Chat Noir find themselves facing–oddly enough–a centaur-like akuma, the conversation Alya overhears between them seems oddly familiar.
These Things Don’t Just Happen Overnight manages to be a cute, slightly crackish, yet understated revealfic for an absolutely adorable show. I love the way the author shows us everything from Alya’s perspective–the friend’s insight, the journalist’s observation, but still the incomplete picture that comes from missing a huge chunk of the puzzle . . . although one gets the impression she’ll probably figure it out pretty soon. I loved how Marinette and Adrien go from this awkward friendship-in-the-works to an easy, established relationship overnight once their secret identities are revealed and they recognize each other as the partners they are (and yes, I’m aware of how awkwardly worded that sentence is, sorry). I’ve seen reveals between these two go the gamut from super-awkward afterwards to casually-comfortable, and the way this one goes is both cute and fitting for the flavor of the story here. I really love the humor that is liberally sprinkled throughout–again, it’s almost crackish, but it works. Also . . . totally random, but the centaur argument is scarily similar to one my Pathfinder group has had, and it made me laugh.
Note: You can find These Things Don’t Just Happen Overnight at https://archiveofourown.org/works/6385852.