Review: The Black Mage

Title: The Black Mage
Author: Daniel Barnes, D.J. Kirkland
Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 29, 2019
Rating: ★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

The School for Good and Evil meets Dread Nation in this subversive original graphic novel where race, history and magic collide. 

When St. Ivory Academy, a historically white wizarding school, opens its doors to its first-ever black student, everyone believes that the wizarding community is finally taking its first crucial steps toward inclusivity. Or is it? When Tom Token, the beneficiary of the school’s “Magical Minority Initiative,” begins uncovering weird clues and receiving creepy texts on his phone, he and his friend, Lindsay, stumble into a conspiracy that dates all the way back to the American Civil War, and could cost Tom his very soul.


Tom was the first black student admitted to the magical academy, St. Ivory. He discovers that there was another black student who went there before, which sends him on a search to find out what happened to her.

There was a lot of racism in this book. The school was completely run and attended by white students, and the teachers all wore white hoods like the Ku Klux Klan. That was really disturbing to see.

The racism in the story made me really uncomfortable. I understand that the story was meant to show how extreme racism is, but it was disturbing to see illustrated in this book. Even though it isn’t the intention of the book, I worry that this could normalize the racism, rather than point out how wrong it is.

I liked the idea for the plot, but I think it should have had less racism.

Thank you Oni Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Mooncakes by Wendy Xu, Suzanne Walker

Have you read The Black Mage? What did you think of it?

One thought on “Review: The Black Mage”

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