Illustrated by Sara Soler
Althalia and her grandmother, are both special witches - they are "bruja", tasked with keeping a natural order between the living and the spirit realm. But, their kind have been hunted for centuries by an order of catholic priests that can trace their lineage back to Cortez himself. Lia and her two best friends use their supernatural abilities to tackle all manner of evil spirits, including renegade demons who escape cursed dolls. One day, while in a museum full of Aztec treasures, tragedy strikes, leaving Lia to take on the world - both living and spiritual - in a grief-fueled rampage. While Lia’s training may not be complete, she is a strong witch, and she’ll suffer no fools, even demonic ones.
This book is beautifully written and a wonderful look into the mythology of a culture we often don't get to see in published works. As mythology is popular right now, this story will find a home with readers who are in to Rick Riordan's stories and the Rick Riordan Presents line of books. There are some Spanish phrases that have no translations in the work, but with context clues, readers won't be super lost. The pacing of this story is really well done aside from the ending, which felt a tiny bit rushed as Lia quickly came to terms with her grief. The Underworld in this story is reminiscent of Bright World from Hazards of Love by Stan Stanley, so pairing these together would make an interesting text set.
The illustrations are bright and wonderfully colored. The level of detail on the cover is carried throughout, and pages are jam-packed with atmospheric details and supernatural wonders. Characters are expressive, even when in animal form.
Oni Press rates this for Teen, which is an appropriate categorization. Given how much grief and death play a role in the storyline, this would be a heavy read for some younger audiences who may not have experienced the grief of losing someone extremely close to them. There is some fantasy violence and death on the page.
Sara's Rating: 9/10
Suitability Level: Grades 8-12
This review was made possible with a digital reader copy from the publisher.
Publisher: Oni Press
Publication Date: January 24, 2023
ISBN: 9781549308161 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 9/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Comicbooks, Magic, Mythology, Family, Supernatural, Oni Press
I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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