My Boyfriend Is a Monster: Under His Spell
I enjoyed one of the books in this series so much, I thought I’d try another one. Under His Spell pairs Bethany, a determined soccer player praised for avoiding “boy-based distractions”, with a foreign transfer student who turns out to be a fairy prince. It’s written by Marie P. Croall and illustrated by Hyeondo Park.
Allein has been sent to our world to hide from a war over the inheritance of the throne, but his cousin has led a band of fighters to find and kill him. Bethany goes from pawn in their rivalry to visitor in Faerie to partner in driving the evil fairies out of our world.
Artist Hyeondo Park has a spare, figure-centered style that makes sense for a love story, although sometimes I would have liked a little more in the way of backgrounds. This lack becomes much less of a detriment when the teens go to Allein’s kingdom, which is done in lovely color. Park is not restrained, in some cases, by a traditional panel grid, and his girls’ faces aren’t excessively feminine, so some readers new to comics may find the work a tad unsettling in its originality. Others may find certain sequences (such as the car accident) confusing and hard to follow. (I did.) The male lead didn’t look attractive to me, just odd, but that’s simply a mismatch of taste.
The storytelling was much slower in pacing than the previous book I tried. Sometimes while reading this one, I found myself wanting to skip ahead, since I knew the basic outline of what was going to happen. (It is a romance, after all.) It required a different mood than I was in, and I had to readjust my expectations frequently and slow myself down. I suspect that the target audience for this series, though, wouldn’t have these complaints — they may find the art uncluttered, instead of empty, and easier to read, and they may better appreciate the hand-holding as the story leisurely moves them from point to point.
My favorite part of the book, the way Bethany takes charge of her own life and choices, everyone can appreciate. She’s quite the little butt-kicker, and smart about it, too. Ultimately, this is less of a romance, more a magical coming-of-age story. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)