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The Black Bull of Norroway - Book Review

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by Jennifer Muirhead (subscribe)
I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma. ~ Eartha Kitt
Published October 29th 2019
Be brave, for you have many trials to come
Norroway, The Black Bull of Norroway, fairy tale, comics, graphic novel, fairy tale comic, Cat Seaton, Kit Seaton, animal companions

A young woman named Sibylla goes with her sisters to have her fortune told by a witch. The witch tells the two older girls that they will marry rich men, and Sibylla that she is to wed the Black Bull of Norroway. The years pass and one day a magical talking bull appears on Sibylla's doorstep and asks her to go with him. She doesn't know what he wants from her but following him seems to promise the adventure she has been craving all her life.

Based on a Scottish fairy tale, The Black Bull of Norroway is a gorgeous, whimsical graphic novel created by siblings Kit and Cat Seaton. I only came across this one because it was in a Unicorn Crate with the theme of "Animal Companions", and it was a lovely surprise. Cat Seaton's writing had me invested in the characters, and Kit's beautiful art is a joy to look at.

Interestingly, while it is based on a Scottish story, the characters in Norroway are almost all dark-skinned. I found this refreshing since the majority of fantasy stories I come across still seem to be about white people, though perhaps I just haven't cast my net widely enough.

Like another graphic novel I read recently, Mooncakes, Norroway includes a character who uses the pronouns 'they/them', which is not remarked upon by anyone else in the story. They are only a side character, however, not one of the main cast.

There is a little gore in this one, mainly in the first few pages, of the kind that you get in an old fashioned fairy tale that hasn't been Disneyfied. I'd still consider it suitable for younger readers, of about 8 and up.

Norroway Volume 1: The Black Bull of Norroway is a beautiful graphic novel for all ages. Annoyingly, it ends on a cliffhanger, but apparently Volume 2 is in the works. I'll definitely be picking that up to see what happens next.

November 2018
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