I ended up finishing this in one sitting and immediately ordering the sequels; The Hidden Witch and The Midwinter Witch. Which I then also read in one sitting. I added this one to my wishlist after reading The Girl from the Sea, so it’s safe to say that I’m officially a Molly Knox Ostertag fangirl through and through. I do think that The Witch Boy was my favourite of the lot, but I do think they’ll be comfort reads that I come back to a lot.
About the book:
In thirteen-year-old Aster’s family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn’t shifted . . . and he’s still fascinated by witchery, no matter how forbidden it might be.
When a mysterious danger threatens the other boys, Aster knows he can help — as a witch. It will take the encouragement of a new friend, the non-magical and non-conforming Charlie, to convince Aster to try practicing his skills. And it will require even more courage to save his family . . . and be truly himself.
What did I think?
The art style is phenomenal in this series. I love the bright, vibrant colours and the way that Molly creates a sense of personality in each of the characters even just with their facial expressions and movements. I’ve been reading a lot more graphic novels lately, and it’s books like these that are making me fall in love with the format entirely.
The Witch Boy gives me these incredible family and found family feelings, as well as giving me big queer feels. The sequel and final book have more queer rep than the first book, but the vibes of The Witch Boy are impeccably queer in a few indefinable ways. The characters are beautiful and rounded in a way that made them feel incredibly real. I loved the friendship between Aster and Charlie, the wholesome bond that made them both stronger, and the complicated relationship between Aster and his family. If you like Encanto (and wanted Mirabel to get some kick-arse powers), you’ll probably love this series as much as I do.
Charlie and Aster both feel stifled by the expected gender norms; and Aster’s whole family expect him to take up shapeshifting as all the boys in his family do, while Aster wants to learn magic like the women in his family. I love the way that Aster stands up for himself, brave and sure of himself, and the way that his family came to terms with it was very beautiful to see – and was built on very well in the sequels.
The plot about the shapeshifters being kidnapped was intriguing and kept me turning pages, and while this was definitely a character-driven graphic novel, the plot was still interesting enough that I couldn’t put the book down. I know for sure that I’ll be following Molly Knox Ostertag’s work closely and reading any other graphic novels she releases.
Release Date: 31st October 2017