Reasons for Inclusion: Racially diverse all-female cast
My Review: (4/5 stars)
This comic interested me from the first glance, and not only because of the colorful art and badass magical girls. I already knew the illustrator from the adorable webcomic Princess Princess, so I expected good things from Crystal Cadets.
The story takes magical girl cliches and embraces them wholeheartedly, a refreshing turn away from the cynicism of many new stories. Schoolgirl Zoe finds she has magic powers and joins a secret society of Crystal Cadets who use their gemstone-based powers to fight the Darkness. The Darkness feeds on bad behaviors like greed, lying, cheating. Only friendship and magic can defeat it.
My favorite thing about this world was the girls’ steeds. Each Cadet’s power set comes with a flying magical creature: pegasus, phoenix, butterfly, unicorn, and so on. The bright and expressive art style makes these even better.
And that’s without even mentioning the casual diversity! The cast is extremely racially diverse, and it’s all taken in stride, with no stereotypes in sight. And the Darkness causes trouble all over the world, so the settings are diverse as well.
I do think that there could have been more characterization. Because the plot focused on so many Cadets all busy on their mission, we didn’t get much of a chance to see their individual personalities. But this is only the first book- we’ll probably get to know them more over time.
(Review copy from Netgalley)