It’s the cover that got me. I was tempted to purchase a copy at first, but instead I did the financially responsible thing and borrowed it from my library. So, yes, I’m quite proud of myself at the moment.
Conspiracy of Ravens by Leah Moore & John Reppion, illus. by Sally Jane Thompson
Teen schoolgirl Anne unexpectedly inherits a mysterious locket and a crumbing English mansion estate from her long-lost aunt. She unearths the family secret that she’s part of a magical legacy that gives her fantastic abilities, and she isn’t the only girl whose family is involved. But not all the girls are so willing to use their new powers for good…
From the writers of Albion and Wild Girl and the artist of Atomic Sheep comes this original graphic novel perfect for tween, teen, and adult fans of fantasy and superheroes alike! (Goodreads)
I took a chance on this one and trusted that it’ll probably be one I like because the cover is so appealing to me. And I got lucky.
It’s a YA fantasy graphic novel set at a girls’ boarding school about a girl named Anne Ravenhall who inherits a locket and the crumbling Ravenhall mansion after her great-great grandaunt passes. Anne did not know that she had a grandaunt, but her frequent visits to Ravenhall since inheriting it and chats with the mansion’s odd housekeeper enables her to learn more about her aunt, the powers she acquired with the locket, and the secret society of women her aunt had belonged to called the Dissimulation, which investigated supernatural occurrences. With her friend’s help, Anne tries to create a new Dissimulation team composed of the descendants of the old one to try to stave off a threat.
This one was a light, fun read with a slight hint of darkness to it. In the author’s notes at the back, Moore describes it as “Sailor Moon via Poe,” and I’d agree with that description as well. I like that it’s a diverse group of girls who make up the new Dissimulation squad and that we see the girls trying to juggle their school and social lives in addition to learning about their magical inheritance. I also liked how Anne’s relationship with her parents developed so that she seems to have a more positive relationship with her dad by the end of the story.
What didn’t work for me, however, is that the story seems rushed in some parts, especially toward the end, and some things could have used a bit more development because I wasn’t sold on Anne’s romantic interest in Michael. I think the story is of decent length, but I do wish there was another volume coming to keep the story going and to see what else this new Dissimulation squad will get up to.
It’s very appealing and, of course, I like that the style featured on the cover is also what’s used throughout. I like the character designs and that the cast of characters featured throughout seem to be diverse. As for the characters’ clothing, I love the fashion of the old Dissimulation squad. In the notes at the back, Thompson said she got her inspiration for those clothes from “early 1900s masquerade fashion.” That alone makes me want a story about the old Dissimulation squad for the variety of clothing choices that would be featured.
As for the colors, the illustrations are dressed simply in black and white with a light greyish blue used for shading, coloring, and highlights. I liked the overall effect because that light greyish blue adds a softness to the illustrations that would probably seem harsh otherwise with just stark black and white.
It was fun and I wish there’d be more.