Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Nightschool: The Weirn Books Volumes 1-3 by Svetlana Chmakova *100th Review!*
Title: Nighschool: The Weirn Books Volumes 1-3
Author: Svetlana Chmakova
Publisher: Yen Press, 2009-2010 (Paperback)
Length: 200 pages each
Genre: Young Adult; Graphic Novel
Started: June 28, 2010
Finished: June 29, 2010
Schools may lock up for the night, but class is in session for an entirely different set of students. In the Nightschool, vampires, werewolves, and weirns (a particular breed of witches) learn the fundamentals of everything from calculus to spell casting. Alex is a young weirn whose education has always been handled through homeschooling, but circumstances seem to be drawing her closer to the Nightschool. Will Alex manage to weather the dark forces gathering?
This is one of the few original English language manga artists I follow, purely because her art is gorgeous and her stories are gripping. I read Svetlana Chmakova's Dramacon volumes a few years back and fell in love with her art style and the fact that I laughed my head off while reading her work. When I found out she was drawing a new series, Nightschool, I knew I would be buying them. I finally got around to doing that (these books are impossible to find in a physical bookstore), and wasn't disappointed. Nightschool follows Alex Treveney, a weirn (a type of witch), and her encounters with the Nightschool where her older sister works. Though Alex is home-schooled for some yet unknown reason, she is drawn to the Nightschool when her sister Sarah disappears. Add in a group of Hunters who keep the Night in check, suspicious teachers at the school whose intentions are questionable, and a group of cloaked children with the potential to burn the city to the ground, and you have a gripping story. There are quite a lot of characters and they all show up at once, and then all the plot threads separate and distinguish themselves before coming together again, so there was a little initial confusion but eventually you can keep track of who's who and what the heck is going on. I love the art style, it's beautiful, and the the artist's chibi drawings never fail to make me laugh, I just love them. Again, I don't read a lot of original English language manga because I find that the artists try too hard to imitate everything they see in original Japanese manga, whereas this artist uses the features of Japanese manga to tell her own story. Anything this artist draws is golden, so read Nightschool (and Dramacon for that matter) and get hooked.
If you're a manga fan but a little hesitant about reading anything non-Japanese, give this one a try, seriously. More volumes are forthcoming, so there will be more to feed your eventual addiction after you finish the existing 3 volumes.
Thoughts on the covers:
Gorgeous. The cover for volume 3 is particularly dynamic, and I like the colour palette for volume 1 and 2.