Children's · Graphic Novel and Manga · SFF

Review: Garlic & the Vampire

Title: Garlic & the Vampire
Author: Bree Paulson
Page Count: 160
Publication: September 2021

[Amazon | IndieBound | BN | Find it at your local library]

(Other reviews: Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus)

Cheese and chives! This graphic novel is just really fucking delightful.


The enchanting story of an anthropomorphized Garlic, along with her friends Celery, Carrot, and others, help witch Agnes tend to her garden as well as sell the un-anthropomorphized versions of themselves at the local market. Magicked as Agnes’ “mute little helpers that keep me company,” the local garden produce have grown and prospered into their own personalities from anxious Garlic to her best friend steadfast Carrot, and the mean Celery to the cheery Potato and Tomato.

One day, Witch Agnes notices smoke rising from a local castle. Using her magic, she deducess a vampire is living there! The garden, now asunder with fear and anxiety, beg Garlic, the vampire’s natural enemy, to go and seek out what the vampire is doing and to banish him away from their land.

But what if, just what if, the vampire turns out to be a super nice guy who is really into gardening?

There is a lot to be learned her from self-reliance and growth of oneself to taking chances and going outside your boundaries. Paulson’s color scheme, the warm rich colors of a beloved fall day, make all the difference to the story. Drawn and colored any other way would just not seem right. Paulson is also an illustrator which gives the drawings a lifelike feel to them. There is just something warm and cozy about this book.

While geared for children, this book should bring a big hug of delight to just about anyone who reads it.


SFF · YA and Teen

Review: The Novice: Summoner: Book One

TItle: The Novice: Summoner: Book One
Author: Taran Matharu
Page Count: 384
Publication: May 2015
Series: Summoner #1

[Amazon | IndieBound | BN | Find it at your local library]

(Other reviews: The Guardian, Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly)

Reviewed by Natalie

Orphan boy? Check. Finds he has a hidden ability? Check. Two of my favorite tropes ever.

Fletcher is the apprentice to a blacksmith and a legitimately good kid. His life is a simple one and he enjoys it except for the local rich kid and his friends who constantly bully him. When he finds himself in possession of a Summoner’s Book, he uses it, thinking it won’t work. To his shock, it does and he becomes the new owner of a salamander-like demon. Once that happens, he’s off to Summoning school to learn all the spells needed (yes, the school is a big castle-like structure. What other kind would it be?) While at Vocans, Fletcher learns the art of summoning and makes some new friends. He’s not perfect, he makes mistakes, but he also feels horrible when he does. Not everything is wonderful at Vocans though. There are conspiracies to attempt to stop, nasty fellow students to deal with, and much more. The book ends on a cliff-hanger guaranteed to make you want to read book 2 (which of course I did).

As I was reading, I kept thinking, “how have I not read this book earlier?” Yes, it’s nothing new to the fantasy genre, but the storytelling is very well done and I truly liked Fletcher as a character. I couldn’t help but want to root for him from the first page. It’s a quick read, with just enough world-building and backstory to give the reader a sense of the place, but not too much that it bogs down the story. I definitely recommend reading Fletcher’s story.