With the autumn coming to soon say farewell to summer, a novel with a premise about a Sapphic romance between a witch and a struggling musician was enough to sell me on reading it.
Margot is a witch who can’t perform magic on command. She is only able to make and sell potions. Elena is an aspiring musician working shift-to-shift at a doughnut shop, hoping for a crowd-packed gig. When one particularly bad day drives both of these women, from two very different worlds, into each other’s lives, it creates a spark of love and disaster. Margot feels guilty for cursing Elena by accident, but the two turn to each other at a struggling time in their lives. While Elena’s curse may have caused her to go viral online, Margot is placed against a wall to perform magic on command or face losing her legal right to practice magic. The women can only wonder whether this electrifying curse will bring them closer together or tear them apart.
Doughnuts and Doom is a relatively simple story, but it finds its roots in navigating the frustrations of adult life and the possible disappointments that come with them. Elena is desperate to become a professional musician, but every gig she lands alongside her friend Bob ends up empty and desolate. Her life is spent working and picking up shifts, hoping for a break. Margot, on the other hand, makes a decent living making potions, but she finds herself mocked and belittled for her inability to obtain a practical magic spell license. In fact, it seems that one of the older witches has it out for her and is looking for any excuse to completely ruin her life, including her ability to make potions. There is frustration and disappointment lying ahead for both women who struggle to deal with what they want and what they are actually capable of achieving on their own. The author emphasizes how two people can complete each other by pushing them outside of their comfort zones to a new place.
Authors similar to Doughnuts and Doom author Balazs Loinczi would be ones producing queer, primarily Sapphic, books and graphic novels aimed at teenagers and young adults. Nate Stevenson, creator of Nimona, is only one of these creatives to look into. Another is Sasha Laurens, author of the recently released Youngblood, a mystery set in an all-vampire high school where all of the undead feed on artificial blood.
Doughnuts and Doom is a wonderful little story that tells a cute romance without bogging it down with too much angst or drama. The characters are extremely well written, right down to the frustration that Elena, a service industry worker, feels when she first meets Margot, who is irritable and angry because of her bad day. You understand that both people have had bad days, but it does not justify how Margot takes it out upon Elena.
The biggest flaw of the book is its short length. The relationship between Margot and Elena, while feeling natural, also feels slightly rushed by the quick pace of the story. The conflict is resolved a bit too quickly between the two leads in what could have been an excellent way to tie up loose ends between Margot and the elder witch. Regardless, it does not take away from the fact that this story is enjoyable. There simply could have been more substance to their relationship considering how it initially begins.
Would I recommend Doughnuts and Doom? Yes, I would in the end. The very small shortcoming of the book is not enough for me to believe it is not something worth reading, especially if a reader is a fan of Sapphic-driven graphic novels. It is the type of book I read that leaves me feeling better for having read it.
The feeling of this story is perfect for the coming autumn. Something about witches and pastries fits well into the season, and this story certainly expresses that feeling. A cup of coffee, a doughnut, and a witch? What about that does not scream the best season of the year?