Hi everyone, I hope you’re doing well! So far my 2022 has started off relatively relaxed (if you ignore the several things breaking around my flat including the door!) and I’ve managed to read a few really great books! One of these is the gorgeous sapphic graphic novel, Coming Back that I was so lucky to be part of the TBR and Beyond Tours book tour for! As always, definitely check out the other posts in this tour as there are some really creative and fun ones again this time! You can see the full schedule here or by clicking on the banner below! Without any further ado, though, here’s my review!
Title: Coming Back
Author: Jessi Zabarsky
Genre: Fantasy, LGBT+, Young Adult, Graphic Novel
Synopsis: 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.
Coming Back is a really beautiful standalone graphic novel that follows to women, Preet and Valissa, who live in a small, tight-knit community where everyone has at least one type of magic – shaping or shifting. Preet is one of the best wielders of magic in their community and holds a position of responsibility, but her wife Valissa cannot use any type of magic at all. When a mysterious fog starts attacking the village, Valissa takes the opportunity to prove herself, despite having no magic, and goes on a solitary journey to save them all. Meanwhile, back home Preet breaks one of the most important laws of her people which brings consequences to everyone she knows. So, she is cast out of the place she calls home, but will Valissa be able to find her way back to Preet when all is said and done?
The first thing that I noticed about this graphic novel was the gorgeous art style that has quickly become one of my favourites. All of the illustrations have a distinctly cottagecore feels about them, full of lush plant life, dusty libraries and embroidered dresses, as well as having a pastel colour palette primarily made up of shades of blue and pink. Not only this, but there are next to no male characters in the village in which Preet and Valissa live, and for both of these reasons I really do recommend this graphic novel to lovers of Mooncakes and On a Sunbeam alike.
The gorgeous illustrations really lent themselves to the fantastic worldbuilding that we see inside this book. We get to see the gorgeous, lush, communal village where Preet and Valissa live, packed full of gorgeous magic, but we also get to visit other places, like mysterious caves and a bustling market town with a bakery stuffed full of delicious wares. It was so fun to see all the different inhabitants of these places, too, and I wish that either the graphic novel had been longer or that this was a traditional novel, just so that we could spend more time there to learn more!
I really enjoyed both Preet and Valissa as characters and seeing them grow throughout the story. It was really interesting seeing them fight their own internal battles as well as those that they came up against. And they weren’t inherently good main characters either, they both had their flaws that were put on display throughout, but you could completely understand their reasonings and sympathise, which is definitely the sign of a well-written character! Despite this, near the end there is some conflict between the pair, and without going into any details for fear of giving spoilers, it felt like it came out of the blue and was rather uncharacteristic of the two of them. As such, I felt like I was thrown abruptly out of the story. Furthermore, as I kinda mentioned earlier, I felt like we didn’t get enough time to explore certain parts of the world and the magic system which would have made for a really full and vibrant world. The morals of the story are very sweet, and it’s all about traditions and forging your own path, but at the end in particular I felt like it was like a slap in the face, there was no subtlety to it at all.
But all round, this was a really great graphic novel, with intriguing characters, exciting world building, and truly gorgeous illustrations and I highly recommend that you pick it up in 2022!
About the Author:
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.