ADVANCED REVIEW: ’Witches of Brooklyn’ – Discovering the Magic Within

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Witches of Brooklyn
Witches of Brooklyn is published by Random House Graphic and created by Sophie Escabasse. Effie is a young girl who recently lost her mom. And since she doesn’t know her dad she has been taken to live with her aunt Selimene, whom she has never met. Her abrupt appearance in her aunt’s life doesn’t get off to the best start. But with help from her aunt’s housemate Carlota, they are able to get the rough edges smoothed out. But, even with things calming down, there is more in store for young Effie than she could’ve possibly imagined.

Witches of Brooklyn’s strongest element is its lead character. Given Effie’s recent life upheaval, she is instantly sympathetic. Even though she comes across as a bit bratty at first, Escabasse never takes the character to the point where it feels more than one would expect. Being dropped off in the middle of the night with an aunt you’ve never met would put anyone in a foul mood. And with just a little coxing, she is soon restored to a cheerful ball of childhood. And while Effie is at the center of Witches of Brooklyn no less care is given to the other primary characters, Selimene and Carlota.

These two function as a perfect supporting cast for the fast learning Effie. They are equal parts mentor and comic foils. The slide between the jobs of keeping Effie on track, and not overwhelmed with the grace of a ballet dancer. Escabasse fills these two characters with lots of charm and wit. And the small pinch of vinegar the Selimene wields give the character the perfect take-charge attitude. They are truly a treat to read.

After settling into her new life, and new school her aunt is visited by a panicked pop star who has an emergency. As renowned herbalists, Selimene and Carlota were recommended to aid in solving the starlets’ quandary. But when Effie discovers the singer’s personality doesn’t match her on-stage persona she becomes incensed. This emotional outburst reveals the truth about Effie. She’s a witch. Just like Selimene and Carlota, she has access to magical abilities. This obviously throws a new curveball in Effie’s life. Most noticeably when a moment of lost control brings a painting of a snake to life in her classroom.

While I enjoyed reading Witches of Brooklyn I did feel the plot was not the strongest aspect. While there is nothing wrong with it, the story never really came together in a stand out way. More just a string of events, that flow well together. Happily, the cast provided enough entertainment to make up for this mild shortcoming.

The art for Witches of Brooklyn does a solid job lending the visual accompaniment to its narrative. The character designs are fun, the panels are filled with a lovely color selection, and the story’s emotional moments are portrayed in a slightly over the top style that gives it a cartoonish sort of melodrama.

The last little stumble Witches of Brooklyn suffers mildly from is its lettering. While the words themselves are all clear and easy to read, some of the dialogue balloons are not laid out in the most intuitive ways. More than once I had to reread panels to get a discussion in the right order. While this didn’t happen enough to greatly hinder the story, it still proved a small irritant.

When all is said and done Witches of Brooklyn provides a fun, upbeat story. Effie is a protagonist one cannot help but cheer for, and her supporting cast is a delight to read. If a fun, fantasy/slice of life story for a young reader is what one is searching for this may provide a delight for that reader.

Witches of Brooklyn is available September 1st wherever graphic novels are sold.

'Witches of Brooklyn’-Discovering the Magic Within
4

TL;DR

When all is said and done Witches of Brooklyn provides a fun, upbeat story. Effie is a protagonist one cannot help but cheer for, and her supporting cast is a delight to read. If a fun, fantasy/slice of life story for a young reader is what one is searching for this may provide a delight for that reader.