Vol 1: Jewel of the Gravesend, illustrated by Jacquelin De Leon
Zatanna Starr, the daughter of renowned Coney Island illusionist Ezra Starr, is not a fan of crowds and performing. She’s much rather hang out with her friends or boyfriend and ride Coney Island’s coasters, grab cotton candy, walk her pet rabbit, or laze around at the beach. Her whole life changes when they visit a traveling band and find Mirror Script, a backwards script trick magicians used to use to hide their spells and tricks. Everyone else seems to have difficulty reading it, but Zatanna is able to read it just fine. What's more, whatever she reads comes true, and she can't figure out how this illusion is working! Diving deeper into this mysterious world unlocks other secrets about her family and her past that she must confront in order to truly understand what she's capable of.
This magical tale is full of circus mystery and adventure, but it’s not all fun and games. There are some heartbreaking moments as Zatanna dives deeper into her past and her ability to read Mirror Script. This book kept me on the edge of my seat and didn't follow some of the other predictable tropes that have been present in this line of DC Graphic Novels for Young Adults. There is definitely more for Zatanna to figure out as there are several things left unresolved at the end of volume one, but with volume two a long way off, readers will have to patiently await answers. This is a wonderful story for established fans of Zatanna, or brand new fans who are ready to dive into the magical world of this long-running DC Comics character.
De Leon masterfully brings Zatanna and her world to life through the use of beautiful, bold colors and dark detail lines. De Leon mixes a lot of different shades of purple into each page without drowning Zatanna out. Zatanna's purple hair and fierce eyeliner wings were something I enjoyed throughout.
There are some more serious moments with some pretty high stakes, and several characters are involved in romantic relationships that involve kissing, but there's nothing on page that would make this inappropriate for middle or high school audiences.
Sara's Rating: 10/10
Suitability Level: Grades 7-12
This review was made possible with an advanced reader copy from the publisher.
Publisher: DC Comics
Publication Date: July 26, 2022
ISBN: 9781401296384 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 10/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Graphic Fiction, Superheroes, Magic, Romance, LGBTQ+, DC Comics
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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