I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Haphaven is a graphic novel by Norm Harper and Louie Joyce which follows the main character, Alex, as she finds herself in a world where the superstitions her father instilled in her reign supreme and she must fight corruption and learn about her family’s superstitious past, all whilst worrying about her mother’s broken back (because of course, Alex stepped on a crack and her mother’s back actually broke).
Perhaps the thing that is most important to me when reading graphic novels (and, indeed, comics or manga as well) is that the art style does not put me off. Typically I do find myself drawn to graphic novels with an art style that particularly appeals to me, but so long as the art style is not something I dislike I can enjoy the story well-enough, and that was the case with Haphaven. The artwork was not incredible or particularly unique or imaginative or beautiful, but it was pleasing enough and communicated the story clearly.
Of course, when getting an ARC from NetGalley, it isn’t like getting a book in a bookshop (or even online)… you don’t see the artwork until you download the book! So, unlike what typically draws me to graphic novels, in this case it was the concept which made me download the book. The book follows a normal girl into a world where all superstitions are real. I’m all for slightly quirky, magical-realism, alternate reality type things, so this was right up my alley in that respect. If you aren’t prepared to suspend disbelief, however, this is not the story for you.
I loved the concept, but the execution was less solid: not bad, but not great either. I wasn’t particularly enamoured by any of the characters, which is usually what draws me to a story (except for one or two of the side characters), and in general the world development and character development felt fairly sparse, but otherwise it was definitely an enjoyable read an interesting exploration of the power of superstition. At times, it felt like the story tried to do too much in the way of plot, sacrificing this greater development in the process… you can’t fit everything in such a short story, but I felt that I would have enjoyed a story with sparser plot and more developed world and character… but that’s just my personal preference.
In conclusion, I gave this graphic novel a respectable 3 out of 5 stars and definitely recommend checking out if you’re interested by the concept of a world where superstitions come true!