Review: Coven by Jennifer Dugan, with art by Kit Seaton
By now you’re likely familiar with Jennifer Dugan through her sapphic contemporary books and this spooky season, she’s bringing us sapphic witches through her debut graphic novel! Check out our thoughts below and pick up Coven, out now!
TY to Penguin for sending us finished copies, which in no way impacted our review.
Covenby Jennifer Dugan, Kit Seaton
Published by: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
on September 6, 2022
Genres: Graphic Novel, LGBTQIA+, Paranormal, Thriller, Young Adult
In this queer, paranormal YA graphic novel debut from the author of Some Girls Do and the illustrator of Wonder Woman: Warbringer, a young witch races to solve the grisly supernatural murders of her coven members before the killer strikes again.
[This] gorgeously illustrated tale mashes together murder mystery and witchcraft. --Nerdist
Emsy has always lived in sunny California, and she'd much rather spend her days surfing with her friends or hanging out with her girlfriend than honing her powers as a fire elemental. But when members of her family's coven back east are murdered under mysterious circumstances that can only be the result of powerful witchcraft, her family must suddenly return to dreary upstate New York. There, Emsy will have to master her neglected craft in order to find the killer . . . before her family becomes their next target.
YA seems to be leaning in HARD to paranormal novels, especially coming into spooky season. We also can’t help but notice traditional publishers dipping their toes into the graphic novel scene. To this we say: it’s about dang time! We’ve been lucky to have adaptations here and there but seeing original stories brought to life in a graphic medium is *chef’s kiss*.
Coven drops us right into the action, with a sense of urgency and a dose of, “There’s more to this story, isn’t there?” There’s never a slow moment, which makes this page-turner a one-sitting read. We meet Emmy at a time of transition – the end of her teenage years, a quick move to a place familiar, but she’s never known, and at a time when she’s working to control her powers. Through mystery and murder, we get to know her and the coven she belongs to.
What we love about Coven is its accessibility for readers. Not only is it an easily consumable fantasy/paranormal novel (or, as they call it now, contemporary fantasy), but the story is brought to life by Kit Seaton’s gorgeous art and color work. The layout flows and the characters jump off the pages. For reluctant graphic novel OR fantasy readers, this is an easy in.
You’ve got a mostly queer cast, a cute cat, and a paranormal story! Fans of Isabel Sterling and YA contemporary fantasy will find a home in this book.