NPC Tea by Sarah Millman
Hannah Nayar is a student. Young, keen but feeling a bit out of place amongst some of the posh kids at uni. She also needs a job. The Y Draig tea shop is just the place, especially if you are a student of magic.
Y Draig is a bit special. Not only is it Cardiff’s least popular tea shop (tip: don’t ask for breakfast tea, let alone coffee) but its owner appears to be a legendary elemental fire spirit with god like power. Even in a world where elves, orcs and other legendary creatures mix freely this is quite something. On the other extreme, being very unmagical makes you kind of special too.
Think about it. To get a good brew, you’ve got to get a handle on all of the elements. – Bryn
A school for magic. Yes that does have certain resonances. I refer of course to The Worst Witch. Joking, I mean Earthsea. But there is as much of Mean Girls in NPC Tea as HP sauce. Especially when Bryn’s sister Nix puts her pop star/model career on hold to pay a visit.
Sarah Millman’s art is clean and elegant and the character designs and facial expressions imbue each with a distinctive personality. The book uses a well defined colour palette of rose, yellow and blue to change scene and emphasis to great effect.
The issues also come with some impressive bonus art from artists including Rachel Smith, Faye Simms, Anastasia Catris and several others.
I appreciate that this series is set in Cardiff, which gives it a real world feel. The details of how the magical races live together, and how they fit in to society are fascinating and I love little touches like the handbook for ‘Humans and Households’ on the shelf in Y Draig. That’s a role-playing game I’d like to see the cast play!
Cardiff is not a city I know well but I feel like when I next visit I should have a look for a tea shop with a grumpy manager and a fiery owner. Now, I think I need a cup of tea. Not breakfast, oh no.