12th Mar2020

‘An Embarrassment of Witches’ Graphic Novel Review

by Chris Cummings

Written by Sophie Goldstein, Jenn Jordan | Art by Sophie Goldstein | Published by Top Shelf Productions | Format: Paperback, 204pp


Life after college isn’t turning out exactly as Rory and Angela had planned. Rory, recently dumped at the gate of her flight to Australia, needs to find a new life path ASAP. What do you do with a B.A. in Communications and a minor in Southeast Asian Spellcraft? Maybe her cute new housemate Guy is the answer she’s looking for (spoiler alert: he isn’t). Meanwhile, Angela is buckling under the pressure of a highstakes internship in a cuttingedge cryptopharmocology lab run by Rory’s controlling mother, who doesn’t know Rory is still in town… and Angela hates keeping secrets.

An Embarrassment of Witches is written by Sophie Goldstein and Jenn Jordan with the art itself by Goldstein. The story introduces us to two witches, Rory and Angela, who are in for a whole world of change after university as they embark on life as adults. It’s a tale of moving forward and moving on, it’s a story of family and friendship. A fantasy coming-of-age graphic novel that brings plenty of heart with two characters that are a real joy to read.

I was struck by just how fresh and original this graphic novel turned out to be. Packed with beautiful art from Goldstein and writing that is incredibly thoughtful, it really breathes life into these characters and the roads they take are relatable, making the entire thing feel easy to get along with. Sure, there’s magic here, there’s fantastical elements that will appeal to fans, but the soul of An Embarrassment of Witches is in the mundane, the life parts, from searching for a job, suffering a broken heart or dealing with family. It mingles these two worlds wonderfully and without any awkwardness of discomfort. It’s just very bloody good.

The gorgeous pastel palette of the pages is a treat for the eyes, and plays along well with that whimsical and charming narrative. The humour, of which there is plenty, hits well and doesn’t try too hard. It’s natural, like the story itself, and I fell easily into the book, reading it in one sitting, and then flicking through a second time immediately afterwards. Yeah, it’s that kind of book.

An Embarrassment of Witches if a wonderfully told exploration of friendship, looking at two childhood friends adapting to life as adulthood friends, and all the things that come along with that. Written and drawn and coloured fantastically, it’s a rich and unique graphic novel that felt like something I hadn’t read before, which at this point is a rare thing.

I highly recommend this, whatever your age or gender, whatever your taste in the graphic novel scene. The blend of themes is done very well, as I said, and the final product is a memorable tale featuring extremely likeable characters. Awesome.

**** 4/5

An Embarrassment of Witches is out now from Top Shelf.


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