Zatanna and the House of Secrets Review

by Jess Roth on February 18, 2020

Writer: Matthew Cody
Art: Yoshi Yoshitani
Letters: Ariana Meher

Zatanna Zatara is one of my absolute favourite (completely underrated and totally awesome) fictional characters, so Zatanna and the House of Secrets was on my radar almost as soon as it was announced. It was definitely worth the wait. Zatanna and the House of Secrets is definitely a book for the younger crowd, as it examines everyone’s (okay, my) favourite Mistress of Magic during that awkward just-turned-13 phase. She lives with her single father, a stage magician who makes magic happen by speaking backwards, and an adorable black-and-white rabbit named Pocus in a house that puts the rest of their suburban cul-de-sac to shame. As the story progresses and peer pressure takes root, Zatanna discovers that magic is real— and it’s in her blood.

Honestly, this graphic novel is just so stinkin’ cute, capturing an earnest sense of whimsy throughout. The art (especially the scenery and the House of Secrets itself) and colours give off strong Star vs the Forces of Evil vibes and the story itself— dealing with peer pressure, bullying, and Zatanna missing her deceased mother— is gentle without being preachy. It’s fast-paced and— dare I say it— wholesome in its execution, even managing to cut Klarion The Witch Boy as a somewhat sympathetic figure rather than his usual characterization of Demonic Little Turd. Zatanna herself possesses all of the characteristics that make the character so much fun in the beginning: she’s bright, she’s creative, and she stands up for what’s right instead of merely following the crowd.

If you’re wanting to check out this book, either as a fan of Zatanna or as a gift for your kids, I only have one word of warning: Zatanna and the House of Secrets is fun and colourful and heartfelt, but even for a middle-grade book, it reads pretty young. It seems to hit the bullseye between fourth and fifth grade. If you have a bookworm in your house that’s too young for the likes of Mera: Tidebreaker or Shadow of the Batgirl, but too old for DC Superhero Girls, Zatanna and the House of Secrets feels like a nice compromise that exudes magic, optimism and joy.

Our Score:


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