Haphaven

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight Reviews Graphic Novels -

Norm Harper, Louie Joyce (Il­lus­tra­tor), Lion Forge (MARCH) Soft­cover $14.99 (160pp), 978-1-5493-0411-8

Tra­di­tional su­per­sti­tions are the in­spi­ra­tion for a rich, fully imag­ined fan­tasy world in the graphic novel Haphaven.

Alex, a girl who’s about to turn thir­teen, is cap­tive to her su­per­sti­tions. From the sto­ries of her long dead great-great-grand­fa­ther search­ing for a real “Lady Luck” to the base­ball bat her fa­ther en­graved with var­i­ous “lucky” sym­bols, her life is dom­i­nated by her be­lief in spe­cific be­hav­iors that can bring about—or stave off—im­prob­a­ble events.

Prompted by her mother to aban­don her su­per­sti­tions, Alex steps on a side­walk crack, which im­me­di­ately sends her mother to the hos­pi­tal with a bro­ken back. Seek­ing sal­va­tion for her mother, Alex meets a lep­rechaun and em­barks on a mag­i­cal ad­ven­ture to the world of Haphaven, where Earth’s su­per­sti­tions draw their power from. There, she en­coun­ters a talk­ing black cat and a talk­ing white rab­bit and dis­cov­ers the truth be­hind her fam­ily leg­ends.

Su­per­sti­tions, less com­monly mined than the fairy tales that form the foun­da­tion of so many modern fan­tasies, of­fer a well-es­tab­lished start­ing point for Haphaven. El­e­ments such as throw­ing salt over one’s shoul­der and the luck of a rab­bit’s foot are com­bined and em­bel­lished in in­ter­est­ing ways, while Alex, a mem­o­rable char­ac­ter faced with sev­eral sur­pris­ingly stark moral dilem­mas through­out the story, makes Haphaven much more than a mere check­list of su­per­sti­tions.

The book’s art is an ap­peal­ing mix of re­al­ism and car­toony ex­ag­ger­a­tion. A fast-mov­ing tale with a sat­is­fy­ing con­clu­sion, Haphaven is sure to please fans of unique fan­tasies.

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