ARC Review – Black Mage

Title: Black Mage

Author: Daniel Barnes, DJ Kirkland (illustrator)

Release Date: 29/10/2019

4 Stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I received a free eARC copy from Oni Press , via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

From Goodreads: The School for Good and Evil meets Dread Nation in this subversive original graphic novel where race, history and magic collide.

When St. Ivory Academy, a historically white wizarding school, opens its doors to its first-ever black student, everyone believes that the wizarding community is finally taking its first crucial steps toward inclusivity. Or is it? When Tom Token, the beneficiary of the school’s "Magical Minority Initiative," begins uncovering weird clues and receiving creepy texts on his phone, he and his friend, Lindsay, stumble into a conspiracy that dates all the way back to the American Civil War, and could cost Tom his very soul.

My Thoughts

This was a joy to read. It is a super-fast paced, quick-witted graphic novel that covers its important story focus of racism in a engrossing fantasy setting. The writing style has a much needed bluntness to its message which keeps the pages turning. The use of the fantasy setting and strong satire are brilliant. There is no subtlety or hiding behind metaphors that this book is about racism, it is clearly there on the page no interpretation needed, and I really enjoyed that.

My only complaint is there were sometimes abrupt change of scenes between panels that would leave me feeling I had missed snippets of information that moved the storyline along.

The artwork of this graphic novel is stunning, it has a real anime esq quality to it. It’s bright and colourful and really compliments the action as it happens. Overall this is a very easy and fun to read graphic novel with an important story to tell.

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