Thursday, November 14, 2019

YA Graphic Novel Review: Grimoire Noir

I read the YA graphic novel Grimoire Noir by Vera Greentea and Yana Bogatch for the fall RIP XIV Challenge this year. It was especially dark and atmospheric for that spooky season, with gorgeous, enchanting illustrations that kept me staring at the pages.

Blackwell is an unusual town because all of the females there are witches and have magical powers. The town has a special protective barrier around it so that none of the girls or women can ever leave, in order to keep the town's secret. Fifteen-year-old Bucky Orson is upset because his sweet little sister, Heidi, has disappeared. His mother is even more upset, which is a problem because when she's sad, it rains, and their house--and the whole town--is beginning to flood. Chamomile, who levitates a foot or two off the ground, used to be Bucky's best friend. It's unclear at first what happened between them, but Cham is upset about Heidi, too. Bucky's dad is the town sheriff, but since he is somewhat limited by his vow to protect all those with magical powers, Bucky takes on his own investigation. As he travels through town (now in a boat, due to the flooding) and follows clues, he learns some deep, dark secrets about the town's history and its present residents.

Sample page from Grimoire Noir (click to enlarge - and check out Cham's eyes!)

Grimoire Noir has interesting characters and a unique, gripping plot, but the star here is its illustrations, that invite the reader to linger over its pages and study the drawings. I know very little about art, but I will try to do these incredible drawings justice. They look like mostly pen and ink drawings, done mainly in shades of gray and brown, with some touches of watercolor. They have a depth to them that adds a sense of realism. While the dark color palate fits the tone, the illustrations are highlighted with tiny splashes of brilliant color, often in the character's eyes or lips, that bring them to life. I found myself entranced by the gorgeous drawings and spending extra time just gazing at them, pulled in by those real-looking eyes and the muted landscapes that recreated the rainy days so beautifully. The suspenseful and intriguing story also kept me rapt, and I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in this spooky book during Halloween week, though I think it will be popular with readers any time of year!

275 pages, First Second

Listen to a sample of the audio book here and/or download it from Audible.

You can purchase Grimoire Noir from an independent bookstore, either locally or online, here:
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Or you can order Grimoire Noir from Book Depository, with free shipping worldwide.


  1. Graphic novels really are a wonderful way to tell certain stories and when the illustrations are stunning, as these are, it is even more effective. They truly are works of art.

    1. Yes, sometimes the illustrations really enhance the story.