Book Review: The Night Witches by Garth Ennis

“Who coins the name is a mystery. Night Witches. And we are children, lost in the woods.”

I am not much of a history buff so the topic of the graphic novel wasn’t one I happened to be intimate with. The Night Witches was what the Germans called the all female Soviet bomber squadron during World War II. The graphic novel’s main character, Anna Borisnova Kharkova, was a member of this squad.

At first glance, the cover is quite striking. This was what drew me in initially. The second was that the writer was Garth Ennis. As an on-again-off-again comic book reader, his name was not unfamiliar to me. I’m a fan of some of his other works although I was not aware he wrote several history related graphic novels as well. Of course, a comic isn’t quite a comic without its artist and Russ Braun did a fantastic job with this one.

War is brutal—it’s something that should not be forgotten. This graphic novel did not sugarcoat it; as well it shouldn’t. It is bloody and graphic and depressing. But it tells a story based in history that is not so well known and presents it in a way that may be easier to consume than say a textbook. While the comic’s novels are not real people, the point is more that the story itself is not too far from the truth.

I found that Ennis’ afterword to be very insightful. It was actually one of my favorite parts of the entire volume. A peek at his research and his decisions in the story. I love hearing about an author’s process in any way.

Thank you to NetGalley and Dead Reckoning for the free copy in exchange for an honest review.


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