Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me access to the free advanced digital copy of this book.
Can I start by saying the bisexual lighting in this book was off the charts. The whole atmosphere of this story was captivating, with the mystics and mermaids and cotton candy clouds-- that's what drew me into the story most.
"There are only two kinds of New Yorkers. Those who think they're going to be the next Lin-Manuel Miranda and those who think their souls will be stolen if they make eye contact with a stranger on the subway."
So in this story, Zee is a teen who gets stage-fright and doesn't know she has magic yet. The plot progresses as she discovers her magical ability and pieces together clues about her past that her adopted father, Ezra Starr, had kept hidden from her. This version of Zee is sans Zatara, she's not the great performer and magic-lover of the comics, but the story still felt like her's (in no small part due to the fantastic art).
Zee's style was very cute (and walking around Coney Island with Flopsy on a leash? very iconic of her), she's clever and surrounds herself with very cool friends who have unique mystic abilities of their own. I think her emotional relationship to magic could have been explored more, because it seemed like doing magic made her more comfortable in her own skin but that wasn't said explicitly. Some questions were left unanswered like how did her feelings about performing change so much and why was her dad such a duche? And I'm kinda bummed we didn't get to see the finished mermaid costumes.
I cannot overstate the impact of this art though, it wasn't just beautiful, it also played a huge part in the storytelling. Like, worth reading for the coloring alone. But the story was fun too! And if they made a follow-up book after this one, I'd definitely read it.
Thank you, Netgalley and DC, for this read!
I tried.. I really did. I liked the artwork/aesthetic. But I didn’t care for the story at all. DNF.
Zatanna is one of my favorites so I was so excited for this. The art is amazing and I couldn't stop reading just to see what would happen yet. Excited to read the rest of this when it becomes a series.
I love the character of Zatanna. This graphic novel was definitely for a YA audience and was overall pretty cute.
In this graphic novelization (is that a thing?) of Zatanna's origin story for a YA audience, the eponymous Zatanna is enjoying summer before her senior year with her best friends, her parents, and her boyfriend. Home is Coney Island. Specifically, Zatanna lives in a giant, golden elephant, the luxury hotel owned by her parents and host to their famous illusionist acts. Coney Island is also home to true mystics and the Russian mob, which is led by Dmitri Volkov, father of Zatanna's boyfriend, Alexei. Zatanna is gearing up for a sunkissed summer at home with the people she loves best, avoiding the stage her father so desperately wants her to inherit. Unfortunately for Zatanna, her past and her magic are about to catch up with her and ruin her idyllic plans.
My favorite thing about this story was the art. It has a young, stylish feel, and I am always here for artists who take fashion seriously. Zatanna & Co. are well-dressed bombshells so 10/10 on that front. I also enjoyed the mystery of Zatanna's heritage and the dynamic with her friend group. While I wasn't obsessed with her romance, I also didn't mind it. There are no creepy vibes, and I think Alexei's genuinely a good sort. I also appreciated the small scale of the story, focusing on relationships and identity over Big Superhero Moments™.
The major downside is the ending. It's quite the cliffhanger on several levels with unresolved elements pointing to Zatanna's future journey. As a standalone, the story feels incomplete, which would be less concerning to me if we had a promised sequel (which none of my digging was able to turn up). Even if one materializes, this story feels like a prologue rather than a complete arc. I am also displeased with the nature of part of the cliffhanger and can't comment further without spoilers.
This is definitely a modern twist on Zatanna, and I think all women in comics deserve that kind of update. This graphic novel has a strong sense of place, splashy, vibrant art, and a superhero origin story with plenty of mystery. For those who enjoy comics for a young adult audience or who aren't bothered by open-ended plot elements, you will find a lot to enjoy in Zatanna. Thanks to DC Comics for my copy to read and review!
I love all these new DC characters being revamped and put in new situations! I love the cover art, and I love Zatanna as a character! Excellent!
Alys Arden's Zatanna: The Jewel of Gravesend was paranormal YA perfection. It made my pulse run and heart shatter in equal measure. This was a wonderful reimagining of a classic DC character, which added new and interesting dimensions to her origin and mythos.
The elements I associate with and appreciate about Alys Arden's writing were crafted to delicious charm. I find people's relationship to places fascinating, so I really enjoyed the way the author built her characters in relation to the place they were - Zatanna and the people in her life in the carnival world of Coney Island. In this fictional world of a real place that is clearly distinguishable as Alys Arden's, she creates a fascinating plot of generational magical feuds with dark family secrets upending and threatening the main character's life and those of her loved ones.
Jacquelin de Leon's art serves as the perfect compliment to the worldbuilding and characterization. I especially loved the creative way in which the panels were arranged and the sense of movement they simulated. The story involved lots of instances of characters and objects moving in a variety of ways and the art design helped convey it very nicely.
I enjoyed the pacing of the story for the most part. However, the climax felt a little overwhelming to me, either because a lot seemed to be happening all at once and in quick succession. Regardless, the build up to it was very enjoyable and the punch that was served was very effective. The conclusion has me curious about where the story and the characters will go, and I eagerly look forward to the next book in the series!
First, I LOVE LOVE LOVED the illustrations. Holy shit, they were gorgeous. And I really enjoyed the story! But SO MANY QUESTIONS STILL! Ugh, now I have to wait for a sequel!
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy.
I'm a big fan of Alys Arden's writing and the art for the graphic novel. I however don't remember much about Zatanna from when I used to read comics more regularly. This was a good graphic novel and a decent introduction to a not as well known Character
DC's YA mediocrity is starting to get to me. There was some good ones to begin with and now they all tend to fall in the same inane middle ground. Origins are changed for no purpose really. If I go buy another DC comic with Zatanna in it, it's a completely different character. I get that I'm not the target audience, but what's the point if it's not to get people to read more DC comics?
This is about a rich teenage Zatanna Starr (It's not even the correct last name.) living at an elephant-shaped hotel at Coney Island. Her parents, Ezra and Lola, are illusionists with a show at their hotel, expecting their daughter to follow in their footsteps. Her boyfriend Alexei's parents run the local Russian mob in Brighton Beach (even though nothing ever comes of it which is how this book loves to operate. Just bring up random shit that doesn't matter instead of giving pages to an actual story.) After seeing another magician's show, she starts seeing mirror-script in the air that only she can read. (Zatanna's whole schtick is that she says sentences backwards to conjure spells.) The title Jewel is just some Macguffin that's never explained. It's just that Alexei needs it to succeed and apparently Zatanna has it in her chest because reasons. The ending is super-rushed and nothing is explained. It's all set up for a future comic instead that I probably won't ever read. (Nothing like reading a 200 page comic with no resolution.) Zatanna also has two token gay friends who are a couple but barely get any page-time.
The art is serviceable but doesn't stand out at all. She doesn't know how to draw teenagers though. They all have tiny little necks and huge heads. Everyone also looks the same age whether they are in high school or a parent.
Such a fun Zatanna origin story! And the illustrations absolutely very lovely (definitely get Klaus, from Umbrella Academy, vibes with Ezra Starr and LOVE the mermaids). I definitely hope this will not stay a single volume tale, because I would love the story to continue.
This was kind of a miss for me not going to lie, the fact that so many of the books from this YA imprint tend to just be origin stories means they are either a hit or a miss and this one just missed for me. As a casual DC reader I hadn't delved that deeply into Zantanna's backstory before this and it never once hindered my enjoyment of her character, I think we could have just as easily done something a little different with a little more depth and it would have been just as enjoyable.
I did like the art in this book. A lot of the other books from this imprint tend to stick with a simpler monochromatic color scheme, which looks nice but I did really appreciate how saturated everything was in this book. It was necessary I think for the story being told. I really don't think this book would have been able to stand on its own without that coloring, it really added to the magical feeling.
This is a new book in the DC universe for younger readers, in this case YA. Zatanna comes from a magical family. Her father is a world-renowned illusionist and her mother his sidekick. Her family has always wanted her to go into the family business, but she has absolutely no desire. One of her best friends however would love to take her place. It’s the summer before senior year and it’s meant to be spent at Coney Island, on the beach, and with her friends. But it’ll be dangerous, dark, and a bit magical, when Zatanna learns she’s not who she always thought she was. This was an interesting story and I wonder if it is a new character or a preexisting one? Either way I thoroughly enjoyed it. The art is fantastic, the color amazing, and overall, a joy to read. I need volume to right now.
I'm only vaguely aware of the DC character Zatanna, so I don't know how true to her story this is, but I enjoyed it. There's twisty-turny intrigue, magical stuff, young love, and secrets all over the place, and while I did figure out the main secret (which, to be fair, will be obvious to readers familiar to Zatanna's origins), I didn't guess the hows and whys of what happened. Like I said, I don't know if this accurately portrays her origin story, but it definitely made me want to know more about her. The art was gorgeous, lots of blues, purples, and pinks with sparkly, glowy magic effects. The story is good; however, I found the secondary characters a bit two-dimensional, almost prop-like at times, and things got a bit rushed in the last bit, though these things didn't really detract much from my enjoyment of the story. I'd recommend this, and am hoping for another volume!
I ended up waiting for the physical release before reading it as I had issues with the quality on my kindle.
This graphic novel was GORGEOUS. I loved how Zatanna's style was recognizable yet not hyper sexualized like she can be a lot of times in the main DC comics. The magical and mystery elements crafted this into an interesting, fun, and relaxing autumn read.
I really enjoyed this - much more than other Zatanna origins that I've read before. The characters were great and the artwork was really fantastic. I really loved all the saturated colors that were used throughout the book as well. Overall, I think that this is one of the best introductions to Zatanna that I've read so far.
I had a hard time putting this graphic novel down. We see a teenage Zatanna who doesn’t really have any powers yet. One day she begins to get some and it certainly changes her life forever. At first she wants to keep them a secret but eventually they come out. While this is happening some secrets come out of the darkness, ones about her childhood. As this graphic novel comes to a close Zatanna is left with more questions than answers
'Zatanna: The Jewel of Gravesend' by Alys Arden with art by Jacquelin De Leon is a graphic novel of the superhero as a teenager.
Zatanna lives in Coney Island in a hotel that looks like a giant elephant. Her parents are magicians, but Zatanna doesn't want anything to do with their act. When she stumbles across a new magician with a mysterious way of writing backwards, it opens up the world for her and reveals secrets of a past she was unaware of.
I liked this story that supposes an origin for a hero I've always liked. I felt like the art and lettering weren't up to the same quality, though. I think it's a good read for teens and anyone, like me, who is a fan of Zatanna.
Though I felt there were times when this fell flat, either when the art just suffered and looked rushed or the script was more elementary and filler than anything, I still felt like overall it was a cute story. I love the Zantanna character and always felt she was a crazy fun character that few knew about.
Most of of the time, the color of the art shine through and help to care the story. Zantanna depicted as this cute Gen Z goth witch girl was a perfect fit for her and I loved the world that was created around her from her friends and family to growing up at the Golden Elephant and working in the magic show. All these elements really help to give the building blocks of what make Zantanna "Zantanna".😜
Will it be as much of a hit as "Zantanna and the House of Secrets," I don't know but this book was delayed and kind of had more of a quiet opening. It should still find fans with those preteens looking for a story that has adventure and teenagey angst without too much drama
** Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to review this advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion **