Publication Date: 2019
There is a demon loose in the forest, and werewolf Tam wants to stop it, before it uses her magic against her. First, however, she will need to team up with her girlhood crush, a witch named Nova.
Mooncakes was one of the year’s most hotly anticipated titles and I, like many others, eagerly awaited the release of this seasonally appropriate title. Witches and baked goods–what a magical October release! Having finished finished Mooncakes, however, I find myself underwhelmed by the unoriginal plot and the insta-romance.
Mooncakes promises a sweet story about romance, magic, and baked goods, but it fails to deliver. The plot about defeating an evil creature in the forest is rather generic, and one I have already seen an handful of times in recent graphic novel releases. This means that, to stand apart, the story must rely on its characters. While Nova and Tam are likeable enough, however, their romance falls flat. They are childhood friends who were separated before high school and are now reunited–and they are in love and kissing within a day. Without any real lead-up, without the two discovering who they are as people now, the idea that they are forever soul mates simply is not believable.
Even the title of the book ultimately leads to disappointment as mooncakes do not play a particularly important role in the plot. There is a celebration of Sukkot and the Mid-Autumn Festival halfway through the story, and mooncakes are eaten. Family issues also arise during these holidays, and Nova has to work through them. Thematically, it seems as if mooncakes or cooking or baking ought to recur at the end of the story as Nova faces her family issues. However, they do not, leading me to wonder if Mooncakes is the title of the book just as a cute nod to the presence of a werewolf character.
This title has rightly received plenty of buzz around its diverse cast of characters. However, the plot is lackluster and the romance unconvincing. There are plenty of stronger graphic novels being published right now, and Mooncakes ultimately does not stand out from the crowd.