Today is my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for Coming Back by Jessi Zabarsky.
Special thanks to Random House Graphic for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Be sure to click here or on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!
Goodreads: Coming Back
Publisher: Random House Graphic
Publication Date: 18 January 2022
Genre: Graphic Novel, LGBTQ+
A beautiful graphic novel fantasy romance that follows two young women who have to go on their own separate adventures to discover the truth about themselves and about each other.
Preet is magic.
Valissa is not.
Everyone in their village has magic in their bones, and Preet is the strongest of them all. Without any power of her own, how can Valissa ever be worthy of Preet’s love? When their home is attacked, Valissa has a chance to prove herself, but that means leaving Preet behind. On her own for the first time Preet breaks the village’s most sacred laws, and is rejected from the only home she’s ever known and sent into a new world.
Divided by different paths, insecurities, and distance, will Valissa and Preet be able to find their way back to each other?
A beautiful story of two young women who are so focused on proving they’re meant to be together that they end up hurting each other in the process. This gorgeous graphic novel is an LGTBQ+ romance about young love and how it can grow into something strong no matter what obstacles get in the way.
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Jessi Zabarsky lives in Chicago with her cat and forty-three plants. She was raised in the woods and will one day return there. Her first graphic novel, Witchlight, was published by Random House Graphic in 2020. You can find her online at @jessizabarsky.
TL;DR: While I didn’t end up connecting to the story and characters as much as I’d hoped to, I could still appreciate the artwork and the wonderful message about traditions and being open to change! I would recommend this to those who enjoy beautiful illustrations and quirky storylines with a positive message!
I really liked the art style even though it’s different to what usually catches my eye when it comes to graphic novels. I thought it was very cute, full of rounded edges and soft lines, and alongside the colour palette of pinks, reds, blues, yellows, and black/white, paints a very calming and cosy picture! The fictional worlds that we enter are beautifully illustrated to show the diversity of the island society, as well as the “unknown” societies populated by unique and bizarre alien creatures!
There is a magic system of shaping and shifting that readers get a fairly simple/basic explanation to, leaving it quite open to interpretation about how exactly it works. I enjoyed the little bit of mythology that we get at the beginning to explain the origin of magic and this society’s life cycle. That said, I wished that we had gotten a little bit more context to the magic, especially as we dive deeper into uncovering the root of the mystery that propels our characters apart, and as we move further into Preet’s and Valissa’s journeys.
Our two characters are, at heart, good people but they are flawed and both face many different challenges on their individual journeys. I wasn’t expecting to encounter such a strong tone of disapproval towards single-parent households, but this is the ‘traditional’ view that our characters come to challenge. I appreciated the way the author addressed the importance of having an open mind in considering differences in others and being accepting of new ways of thinking and living, while still maintaining respect for tradition. Also, while this is a sapphic romance, it wasn’t the main focus of the story as it’s an all-woman society where their relationship is the norm!
“…our stories are only good so long as they help our people.”
However, there were moments on their journeys involving certain encounters and symbols that really confused me and made me question whether I even understood what I was reading? It took me out of the reading experience a little bit! I also thought that resolution to Preet and Valissa’s issue was a bit glossed over and the ending was rushed and a little too easily resolved. But it was an easy and entertaining read that I did enjoy and I would recommend it if you’re looking for something different!
Have you read Coming Back or is it on your TBR?