Cover Image: A Magical Girl Retires

A Magical Girl Retires

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Member Reviews

This book had such an interesting premise, and for the most part, it was executed well! The protagonist was fairly likeable and easy to empathize with, especially knowing how brutal the work culture is in Korea. I enjoyed reading about the more realistic aspects of navigating mental health and real problems (like climate change) while also enjoying touches of magical girl lore. I almost wish there was just a bit more world-building on the latter—because having magical girls of all ages and backgrounds was intriguing.

Overall, a short and fun read for anyone who wants to feel just a bit of hope under our rather dreary circumstances.

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4.5 rounded up!

The girlies who get it, will get it. The girlies who won't, won't. This is for the girls who have felt weak and wished that they had the power to change their lives. It's for the girlies with credit card debt who feel buried by the realities of our modern, soul-sucking world. It's for the girlies who don't feel like they belong anywhere. Honestly, it's just for the girlies! This novella is short and sweet so I recommend you read it and see for yourself.

Thanks to HarperVia and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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⭐⭐⭐

Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

I was a huge fan and still am of the magical girl era, Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura are my jam, so I 100% requested this ARC because of that lol.

This story follows a 29-year-old who lost her job during COVID and is about to end her life due to piling up credit card debt. Her plans are halted when she discovers she is a Magical Girl and is asked to join the fight against a looming enemy, climate change.

This was an interesting novella and I’ll be honest I didn’t know which way it would go. It did take me a bit to get into and I did think about DNF-ing at almost every chapter, but then a twist would appear so I kept going. It could’ve also been the way this was originally written and some of the nuances were lost in translation. I can imagine this would make a funny K-miniseries but as a book was a little flat. This book tackles some topics including the obligation of Magical Girls to use their powers for good. In the end, it was entertaining and the chapters began with a fun illustration that also helped set the tone.

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A Magical Girl Retires by Park Seolyeon was definitely a very original and unique story. I had so much fun reading this. A Magical Girl Retires is very much a book for those who grew up watching Sailor Moon. It's a very short book but I loved that it did what it did in that amount of pages. It was fun, it was entertaining and I loved the illustrations that it came with. It was also a fantastic translation, it felt like it flowed and it didn't feel stilted. I cannot wait for everyone to read this wonderfully unique story.

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*4.5 rounded down for Goodreads scoring*
Thank you to NetGalley and HarperVia for my arc in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Park Seolyeon's "A Magical Girl Retires" is for all of us girlies who grew up reading, watching, and loving "Sailor Moon," "Cardcaptor Sakura," "Revolutionary Girl: Utena," and other mahou shoujo stories. We follow jobless, depressed, and in-debt twenty-nine year old millenial and we see her become a magical girl.

First, I loved the illustrations in this. They suited the narrative so well and there were some that I saw that were just so pretty. And for being a translation (from Korean), I thought that the translator did such a brilliant job with keeping the feeling of the original language. It might have helped that the translator seemed to be a huge fan of Park as well. The overall story delves into domestic violence, environmentalism, mental health, I mean Park did such a great job of tackling these real life issues, especially in South Korea. Aside from the ending which felt a little bit underwhelming, even though it made sense, I loved every second of reading this.

I would absolutely pick this up once it's released on the 30th.

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I'm a lifelong fan of magical school girls and this was the perfect homage! For a book that's less than 200 pages, Seolyeon manages to capture the essence of everything I love about the genre while also adding some super relatable aspects of Adulting and the struggles of Life. Sometimes translated books can feel stiff in tone, but Anton Hur did a great job here and I think captured the vibes really well, even if I obviously haven't read the original. The artwork in each chapter also added to my enjoyment here and the whole journey just felt very nostalgic. It would have bene nice to be a tad bit longer, but I still liked this. Definitely would love to read more from the author! The notes from the translator and illustrator were nice as well.

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A 29-year old struggling with money issues and depression. Magical Girls exist. Chosen One trope, and its a sapphic romance? Sign me up.

I really recommend this book to those that find themselves struggling in their mid-twenties and had a Magical Girl phase as a kid. I first heard about this book from post about upcoming releases back in January.

I have always loved Magical Girl animes and this book hit home with the main character. She's struggling with money and finding her place in this world. The book starts off very heavy with speaking about suicidal thoughts and ideation. For me this book hit home with myself and really enjoyed myself throughout the whole experience. A Magical Girl Retires plays on the Chosen One trope by spinning it on its head.

I just wish it was longer!

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

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A quick read, but also a really fun one that feels like an episode of a magical girl anime. Friendships and enemies are made and though the true villain (climate change) isn't defeated in the end, there is still a sense of hope and growth for the main character. At only 144 pages, the story doesn't overstay its welcome, but I still found myself wanting more. More battles, more development between the characters, more time in this world that I wanted to be immersed in.

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This is a quick read about a 29 year old girl who discovers she’s a magical girl after a traumatic event. i loved the build up of the story and the nostalgic feeling of watching an episode of Sailor Moon as a kid. However, there was some disconnect with the main character and the climax of the story happened way too fast. An enjoyable novella, it just had me wishing for a little bit *more*

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Thank you Net Galley and publishers for letting me read an arc of this book in return for an honest review.

This was a very quick and fun book. I felt like it was too quick though, like I wanted more details. It hopped from one thing to the next without fully explaining the current plot. It felt rushed in my opinion, but still an enjoyable story. A 29 year old girl is thinking about ending her life during covid over credit card debt, when another girl shows up to tell her she's destined for greater things. She's gonna be a magical girl that saves the world. Another girl also comes to her powers shortly after and wants to speed up the end of the world. Global warming is the big monster here so she wants to reset and start over without humanity. The 29 yr old ends up saving the world, but retires just to return to her normal ordinary life. Cute, entertaining, and short.

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Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this story.
SPOILERS TO FOLLOW

This was a very cute and very short story. I enjoyed how it was all about Magical Girls and the tropes associated with them. I also enjoyed how the the FMC (I don't know if we ever learn her name at any point. I can't remember her saying it or introducing herself) was 29 and had credit card debt. She was a very relatable MC and I enjoyed how she was self-deprecating but also very kind as well. She wanted to do good and help people and she managed to do that in the end despite not being the Magical Girl of Time. I also really enjoyed Ah Roa and how they met the FMC because they were destined to be together (I'm unsure if the author meant friendship or fall in love but either way it was very sweet). I also enjoyed her power in the end and that her talisman was a credit card! Her power was pretty unconventional but it made sense. I kind of hoped for a better ending for her (one free of credit card debt) but I like the ending that was presented to us as well.

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The cover art initially caught my eye, and I was engrossed by the story. Even though it had a slow start, it was well paced, and I adored the small comics that appeared before every chapter.

The writing style was well done and has a nice flow. Anton Hur did an amazing job with the translation, but I think they could have added a glossary for any romanized words. I was fine because I know basic korean honorifics and I knew that "unnie" meant older sister, but I can see someone who isn't familiar with korean getting confused. It only happens in a single scene, so it's big of an issue.

The plot follows an unnamed main character who struggles to find her footing and learns to find meaning in life. Watching the main character grow into herself was a pleasure, and I liked reading about how magical girls come into existence - the way that the world focuses on balance, and that it lends powers to women in difficult situations when they need it most. Park Seolyeon kept me on my toes by subverting expectations over and over. It's a short book, but I couldn't help but be surprised at every turn.

I didn't expect this book to be sad, but it is dark, feminist, and hopeful. It begins with a suicide attempt, and there are implications of domestic violence or sexual assault throughout the book. I was pleasantly surprised to see the author include trans women under the umbrella of magical girls. I've read a handful of books who didn't consider the existance of trans people. We never meet a trans magical girl, but I liked seeing them find their way into this world.

TW: Suicide attempt, Sexual Assult (mentioned), Domestic Violence (mentioned)

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I tried multiple times to get into this book as the synopsis interested me greatly as a lover of manga and anime and I just couldn't do it. I don't know if it was the translation or the author's original book but nothing holds my attention and I can't get past the first couple of chapters no matter how hard I try.

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Wow! This was absolutely fantastic! Magical Girl Retires is a cross between Manga, Anime and the Millennial experience wrapped up in a light novel. Mixing real life with fantasy, this unique read takes on the emotional toll of climate change, credit card debt and job insecurity in a post pandemic world while sprinkling in magic, hope and a touch of chaos.

✨ Magic
🖼️ Beautiful Artwork
🌡️ Climate Change
💳 Financial Woes
💼 Job Insecurity
😷 Pandemic
📚 Translated Fiction
💥 Chaos
🫶 Hope

Magical Girl Retires was such a wonderful read, paying homage to the Magical Girl genre of the past while tackling current events. 10/10 recommend!

*Please check TW before reading.

Thank you so much HarperVia for the gifted copy!

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As a lover of magical girls, how could I possibly say no to this?

A late twenties millennial woman is going through a rough time after covid and starts to not see a light at the end of the tunnel anymore. However, she is turned into a magical girl with amazing powers! However, how can she use this magic on the very real-world problems on Earth?

This was delightful! I am so happy I got a chance to read this not only from Netgalley but because this book was translated and I feel like that's magical in itself seeing how hard it is to get many books translated to English. There are some! I know!!! But, this one is particularly special to me.

Out April 30, 2024!

Thank you, Netgalley and Publisher, for this Arc!!!

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A Magical Girl Retires is about a 29-year old woman who is contemplating suicide because she is drowning in credit card debt, but is given another option by a magical girl, and that option is to become a magical girl herself! The readers are then taken along for her journey of trying to unlock her magic and become the greatest magical girl ever, while trying to protect the world from the nearing apocalypse. The imposing apocalypse is brought to you by…CLIMATE CHANGE!
This story is a bit of a sad one. The beginning starts with our heroine contemplating suicide while waiting on the side of a bridge, to finding out the world’s greatest enemy is climate change, along with the knowledge that magical girls awaken to their powers after or during a traumatic event. The world tries to find balance by only having girls or women even later in life awaken to magic because this world has such a huge difference in power balance between men and women, and while the book is not largely about this, it is still very important to realize and call attention to it. It is also important to call attention to the fact that even someone who feels like the lowest of the low can have a huge, positive impact on the world as long as we have enough hope and determination to make our wish come true. I enjoyed this book, the artwork in it, and it was a very quick read. This book also had some humor in it to balance with all of the sadness or darkness our heroine feels, as well as the start of a budding lesbian romance. Overall, if you are looking for a quick read to come back to the Magical Girl genre, or to start your journey into the genre, this is a great book to get you started!

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/6400159313
https://www.instagram.com/p/C5mvON3LtEA/

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CWs suicide, sexual assault (mention)

Magical girl stories have a very unique weight to them - because the happy sparkly magic always comes at a much deeper and darker cost. I think that’s what really draws me to these stories, even as the characters are young and naive being confronted with life’s greatest horrors.

What A Magical Girl Retires does so well is take that same weight and remove some of the glitter. Our main character is a suicidal 29 year old, not a middle schooler brimming with hope, and when she gets a taste of the hope most magical girls take for granted, it changes her whole world. Plus we get the balance of Roa, who is bubbly and confident and the quintessentially magical girl (even as an adult) who’s then given a hard dose of reality that rattles her resolve. But what it also does is show us an enemy that’s harder to fight than a typical monster: climate change.

Even though it’s short (at only 176 pages!) it doesn’t feel incomplete or rushed. And it’s definitely worth reading the note from the translator at the end.

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I had never before in my life encountered a book that is the perfect length of pages for the story that lies within it, until now.
The story begins with the main character attempting suicide and being saved by a magical girl who promises a bright future as a magical girl herself, who could refuse?
From there we are met with wonderful depictions of girlhood, from the wonderfulness of it to also the hardships. We encounter an antagonist who is shown humanity and we see all the reasons she went down the path of destruction and we can’t really blame her.
I absolutely love when stories that look fun and rose tinted offer us insights on the less desirable parts of life, and this book delivered that but still managed to make me giggle and wish I was a magical girl.
Also the art is absolutely gorgeous, it is the best art I’ve ever seen in a book. Everything about this was such a fast and joyful read.

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I really enjoyed this book! I think it is excellent for anyone who thinks that they've aged out of being A Magical Girl. It asks us to think about our responsibilities to not only others and the environment, but also ourselves.

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I'm really glad I read this short book. Thank you to Netgalley, the publishers, and the author for the ARC I read.

This book is both heavy and light. The heaviness comes from the topics and themes explored, but this is balanced with the lightness of magic, justice, and humor. The story starts off with a planned suicide attempt. This is how we meet our main character. It was actually pretty hard for me to read the first chapter because I resonated with a lot of our main character's thoughts and struggles. But with the book being so short, it does quickly become more hopeful and easier to read. I liked how our main character's issues weren't suddenly solved by becoming a magical girl, like I had thought they might be. Ultimately, the path she takes leads her to a better future, but that's from her learning and growing, not because she suddenly becomes some amazing magical girl. The ending also feels very realistic, but hopeful. So if you are struggling with similar issues as the main character, I think you can also gain hope from reading this.

I also loved the artwork at the start of each chapter. This book would make for a wonderful manhwa adaptation, so I hope that happens at some point in the future. I also really appreciated reading the translator's and illustrator's notes at the end. The translator especially helps really summarize the meaning behind this story. It was a great edition to have in the book.

I already have my copy of the book pre-ordered so I'm excited to revisit the story with a physical copy soon.

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