The Night Eaters, Vol 1: She Eats the Night by author Marjorie M Liu and Illustrator Sana Takeda
The Night Eaters is a solid introduction to a new graphic novel trilogy by the Eisner Award winning author of the popular series Monstress. It stars a Chinese American family with a very unexpected secret.
The mother, Ipo, was a martial arts stunt woman back in China. Basically, she has a very cool and very badass past that she keeps to herself. After she met her husband, also a super badass in his own right, they moved to America and had twins who have since grown up to run a restaurant together. They are American millennials through and through while the mother is very stuck in her ways and distances herself from her family.
Ipo loves her gardens. She spends more time with her plants than with her children and the children have grown somewhat resentful. When she asks for help cleaning up a house they own that they cannot seem to sell the twins only agree at the insistence of their father.
This traditionally spooky house has mysterious and supernatural ties to the mother. The parents have kept their children sheltered from any notions of ancient magicks so when it is revealed to them they are more than a little surprised.
The house is creepy upon entering due to the classic haunted house tropes like spooky dolls and creaky floors but there is so much more lying underneath the floorboards. It’s strange that they were even trying to sell this house when it clearly has so much power! The overgrown plants also serve a purpose, they’re not just weeds left untended.
The Night Eaters is full of scary and fantastical elements but the book’s real strength is showcasing the family dynamics. The relationships between each of them are realistic and relatable. The twins are close with each other but don’t fully understand the generation before them. The father is a bit more progressive and tries to understand his offspring while the mother wants everything done her traditional way.
The book takes place during our current COVID times and you can see Ipo’s stubbornness in her unwillingness to wear a mask or make accommodations for the pandemic. She also insists on smoking cigarettes constantly and generally not conforming to the new social norms. Of course, this ruffles more than a few feathers.
Although they bicker it is always clear that they do love each other and don’t want anyone to get hurt. They’ll stick together through any dramatic changes that may come and will do their best to lift each other up.
I enjoyed getting to know these characters and am looking forward to reading more in the future. At the time of writing this review the next installment of the trilogy is set to release Fall 2023. Make sure to read book 1: She Eats the Night before then!
5/5 plants 🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱
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