My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have to admit that this is the first Manga I’ve ever read, although I’m an emerging fan of the graphic novel format. The artwork varies with the characters’ emotions from mysterious and flirtatious, to outraged and scary. The colour panels at the outset of Chapter 2 when our main character, the young Weirn and her pet Astral, are introduced are rich and ethereal in their hues of blue. The other section that stands out is the fight sequence when The Hunters take on The Rippers is about 6 pages long and almost completely non-verbal but filled with motion and tension. The thing I appreciate most about Nightschool is the enthusiasm with which Chmakova writes it. She is absolutely enthralled with the diversity of her Nightschool characters and each one of them clearly has an intrinsic purpose to the overarching storyline. This first volume mainly serves as a teaser, beginning every introduction of new plot and character in media res, the reader must take for granted that clues to the nuances of this other world will develop. It requires a leap of faith from the reader that I’m not sure every reader, certainly not struggling readers, would make. Having said that, I can see why these books would be wildly appealing to the right audience, pre-teen to young adult, and I’m proud to call Chmakova Canadian.