- Gabby Womack
The Hazards of Love, Vol. 1 by Stan Stanley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The Hazards of Love follows the story of a queer teen from Queens who makes some mistakes, gets dragged into a fantastical place, and tries to hustle their way back home.
Amparo's deal with the talking cat was simple: a drop of blood and Amparo's name to become a better person. Their mother and abuela would never worry about them again, and they'd finally be worthy of dating straight-A student Iolanthe. But when the cat steals their body, becoming the better person they were promised, Amparo's spirit is imprisoned in a land of terrifying, flesh-hungry creatures known as Bright World.
With cruel and manipulative masters and a society that feeds on memories, Amparo must use their cleverness to escape, without turning into a monster like the rest. On "the other side," Iolanthe begins to suspect the new Amparo has a secret, and after the cat in disguise vanishes, she's left searching for answers with a no-nonsense medium from the lesbian mafia and the only person who might know the truth about Bright World.
This graphic novel took me on a trippy, dark journey that I was not expecting. The cover drew me in so much that I decided to not read the book description before I began reading. The story is incredibly diverse and the illustration style manages to be colorful and sinister at the same time. Amparo is such an easy character to connect with because their way of speaking is casual. While sprinkled with some slang and turns of phrase, none of it seems forced or awkward.
While I am a huge cat-lover, as most of you know, I don't feel such warmth for the cat in this tale. The Hazards of Love is great for fans of dark fantasy and talking animals.
Content warning: some scenes may appear gruesome.