XII of Magic and Muses Volume 1: Monsters review

XII of Magic and Muses Volume 1: Monsters

Story and art: Kristen Kiomall-Evans

Cover Vol 1: Rachel Ho

Logo design: Shannon Bergin

Nothing is as it seems

Set within the walls of a mundane, strict and oppressive school, Willow is going to fail her exams if she doesn’t stop daydreaming about magic adventures. But it isn’t just Willow who’s got problems, her best friend Emma is being bullied by quiet, angry Georgia. Struggling to find a way to help her friend, Willow begins to experience something very out of the ordinary. Something magical. Suddenly everything she knows to be true is called into question- could this be the start of the adventure she’s been dreaming of? Or will it become a nightmare?

Unlikely friendships

Soon it is not just Willow who has developed these powers. Though an unlikely trio, Willow, Emma and Georgia are really interesting characters. What begins as a familiar tale of victim and bully, unfolds into something much more complicated. These characters are thrust straight into the unknown and as their understanding of magic develops so does an unlikely friendship. Each character has been crafted with care by series creator Kristen. These characters all feel like fully realised individuals, I can remember a few of them from high school! Just without the magic. 

How would you react to suddenly having magic?

What really stood out for me in Xii of Magic and Muses Volume 1: Monsters is the running theme of uncertainty. We’ve no narrator explaining all the events to us, we learn with the girls. It is that storytelling technique that had me invested in the story and the characters. Whilst there is no shortage of stories where “magic is discovered in the real world”. The response and attitudes of the characters in response to these powers help this feel like a unique set up. I am sure I am not alone in having daydreamed in class about suddenly developing magic powers. However, the more realistic attitude of fear, uncertainty and confusion the main characters feel really helps to ground the story. 

Spellbinding visuals help showcase this engaging story

Amongst the gorgeous panels of the girls discovering their magics is a coming of age story. Banding together with a bully, Emma’s older sister and her friend, these girls discover some hard truths about themselves as well as what they can do. Whilst they are learning to control these powers, they are also growing as people. 

Serving to balance the multilayered plot is Kristen’s engaging visuals. The panels which show the girls powers emerging and the later transformation scenes are so full of life. The use of colour and the brushstroke-like visuals really keep you in that fantasy, magical setting. Volume 1: Monsters may read at an initially slower pace whilst it introduces the characters, the setting and provides the necessary exposition, it is by no means a slow read. Once the magic begins to grow as does the pacing all leading towards a greater sense of wonder, but also danger. 

As the story develops it becomes clear that this magic gift, may not be all that it appears. It begins to spread out of the girl’s control and in a School with sky-high walls? This can only spell disaster. Whilst XII of Magic and Muses deals with some darker themes and violence it is intended for teen and up readers. It is perfect for fans of fantasy young or old. 

Get your copy of XII of Magic and Muses now

XII of Magic and Muses has been published online as a webcomic since 2016 and Vol 3 is currently available through Kickstarter. Volume 3 will be the final in the Magic and Muses trilogy. All three volumes are available as a tier on Kickstarter and at over 1000 comic pages, it is an absolute bargain! Check it out now on Kickstarter. 

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