Published November 16, 2021
Sophie is a young witch whose mother and grandmother pressure her to attend the Royal Magic Academy–the best magic school in the realm–even though her magic is shaky at best. To train for her entrance exams, Sophie is sent to relatives she’s never met.
Cousin Sage and Great-Aunt Lan seem more interested in giving Sophie chores than in teaching her magic. Frustrated, Sophie attempts magic on her own, but the spell goes wrong, and she accidentally entangles her magic with the magic of a young water dragon named Lir.
Lir is trapped on land and can’t remember where he came from. Even so, he’s everything Sophie isn’t–beloved by Sophie’s family and skilled at magic. With his help, Sophie might just ace her entrance exams, but that means standing in the way of Lir’s attempts to regain his memories. Sophie knows what she’s doing is wrong, but without Lir’s help, can she prove herself?
I don’t read graphic novels very often, but I have really enjoyed the few I’ve read– and this one is no exception! I didn’t realize until I began reading TIDESONG how much I missed this style of storytelling. Once I finished reading it, I looked up MOONCAKES by Wendy Xu, and I’ve heard so many great things about it that I want to order myself a copy of that, too. I also had to look and see if Ethan Aldridge had anything new coming out, and yes! He does! So I can tell next year is going to include some amazing graphic novel stories, and I’m excited.
But back to TIDESONG. I loved the vibrant depictions of characters in this book. It’s always fascinating to me the way that illustrations and a few words in the hangs of a brilliant storyteller can bring a story so fully to life. I felt like I knew the characters and could hear them in my head. I loved Sophie so much.
I felt like the story hit the perfect level of complexity, too. Like, a lot happens, and there are some unexpected moments that pull things together in different ways. It never felt overwhelming and there weren’t any moments that dragged. The pacing was perfect.
I’m definitely interested in adding this one to my family library. I’ve seen several reviews listing TIDESONG as perfect for fans of Studio Ghibli. I think it’s also a great fit for fans of Ethan Aldridge’s The Changeling King duology.
Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.
Written by a Chinese-American author and artist.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Some characters have the ability to do magic and are called Water Witches. Sea Dragons also have power and some are able to transform into a human form.
One of Sophie’s guardians uses a lot of strict rules and sometimes cruel words. Sophie also has a deeply negative voice in her head that says critical and hurtful things to her.
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