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Graphic Novel Review

Book Cover

Seconds (Hardback)


Writer: Bryan Lee O'Malley
Artists: Bryan Lee O'Malley and Jason Fischer
Publisher: Self Made Hero
RRP: £15.99
978 1 906838 88 1
336 pages
Publication Date: 14 August 2014

Katie's got it pretty good. She's a talented young chef, she runs a successful restaurant, and she has big plans to open an even better one. Then, all at once, progress on the new location bogs down, her charming ex-boyfriend pops up, her fling with another chef goes sour, and her best waitress gets badly hurt. And just like that, Katie's life goes from pretty good to not so much. What she needs is a second chance. Everybody deserves one, after all - but they don't come easy. Luckily, for Katie, a mysterious girl appears in the middle of the night with simple instructions for a do-it-yourself do-over. And just like that, all the bad stuff never happened, and Katie is given another chance to get things right. She's also got a dresser drawer full of magical mushrooms - and an irresistible urge to make her life not just good, but perfect. Too bad it's against the rules. But Katie doesn't care about the rules - and she's about to discover the unintended consequences of the best intentions...

Seconds is a new standalone tale from Scott Pilgrim creator, Bryan Lee O'Malley.

The story follows Katie, who is at a critical point in her life. She discovers that her restaurant has a house spirit that wants to help Katie succeed. However, this house spirit, called Lis, only intends to help Katie fix her problems once... but Katie gets greedy when she works out she can alter her past again and again. Sadly things always seem to turn out worse in the long run. At its heart, this is a cautionary tale of being happy with your lot.

Katie's actions don't start off as selfish. In fact her first attempt to change events revolves around a member of staff who get badly scolded. But as she changes more and more things she's not happy with, she starts to try and finely tune her domestic and professional life.

The illustrations are sweet, and childlike, and appear to have been partly inspired by Japanese manga illustrations (big doe eyes and wild spiky hair) and this sweet look serves the tale well.

For those looking for a light-hearted read, but with a serious message at its core, then you could do a lot worse than Seconds.


Nick Smithson

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