Thursday, April 18, 2024

Doughnuts and Doom is the sweet, sapphic fix we all need right now

Margot Grapes is a witch who can’t do magic. You can see why that’s kind of a problem, and it’s only set to get worse because her local dougnut shop is out of her favourite flavour. And that, my friends, can only spell doom.

Doughnuts and Doom from author Balazs Lorinczi follows an anxious witch called Margot and an indie rockstar called Elena and the cursed doughnut that brings them together for a sweet and sacharinne adventure like no other.

I’ve read many graphic novels and books that do the meet-cute. Eyes meet across the room, hearts race, and sooner or later people fall in love and live a happily ever after. However, Doughnuts and Doom does away with that entirely, instead going for something which I’ve branded as a meet-hate – a meeting that quickly spirals out of control.

You see, after once again failing her exam to cast vocal spells and enchantments (to the delight of her stuck-up examiner), Margot knows that the only thing that will satisfy her is to take her snake familiar Stanley or lunch at the local doughnut place and stuff both of their faces with chocolate. It’s a good plan, but with no chocolate doughnuts in sight and server Elena only goading her on with her sharp wits, Margot loses her temper in the most Karen-like way possible. Her magic spirals as her anger gets the better of her, nearly destroying the store and leaving behind something that threatens Elena’s life in the form of a cursed doughnut.

With such a meeting, it might be hard to imagine how these two could ever get together but, without spoiling anything outside of the main premise, Lorinczi manages to do that just that while remaining true to both Margot and Elena’s personalities and the relationship that grows between the two women. For example, Margot’s anxiety works hand-in-hand with Elena’s confidence as the two lean on each other throughout Doughnuts and Dooms story.

It is a short read with 138 pages, and you can easily get through it in the space of an hour overall, but each narrative beat feels significant and as a reader it felt extra enjoyable to read page after page and have an idea on where the story could go, but still feel invested in what happens next.

Unfortunately, while the premise is a fascinating one, I felt as though Doughnuts and Doom pace played out a bit like a freight train. Margot and Elena’s relationship is wonderful and I was invested in how they’d end up together, but they moved so fast from enemies, to friends, to lovers that it was like being served a three-course meal in quick succession without the time in between to savour it all. A shame, because Lorinczi shows they are more than capable of writing a relationship you want to root for. It just goes by too quick for the audience to relish in it.

As delicious as Lorinczi makes food look with their art-style, I found myself starving to find out more about a world where witchcraft is not only an every-day thing, but normalized to the point it has its own governing body and commitee. Unfortunately, a lot of the world of magic – and even Elena’s interest in music – is often pushed to the side to make room for the burgeoning relationship between the two women. It’s fine really, that’s what I was invested in the most, but the lack of emotional pull within the setting only served to weaken it in the process.

And yet, despite what may feel like an overwhelming negative perspective, I can say that Doughnuts and Doom is exactly the sort of novel that you should read if you’re looking for something fluffy to pass the time. It isn’t pushing the genre, it’s not revolutionary, but damn if it isn’t a gripping read all the same and the art is top-notch too.

Doughnuts and Doom is a great read for those looking for a short, but adorable love story, but those looking for anything beyond skin-deep will be left disappointed.

Doughnuts and Doom is available to purchase and read at select retailers, such as WHSmith and Forbidden Planet.

Aimee Hart

[She/They] Aimee Hart specializes in queer fandom, video games and tabletop, having started her career writing for numerous websites like The Verge, Polygon, Input Magazine and more. Her goal now is to boost LGBTQ+ voices in the video games industry.