Advanced Review: Life of Melody by Mari Costa (Seven Seas + Hiveworks)

Life of Melody

What’s The Story?
When Razzmatazz, a snazzy fairy godfather, and Bon, a burly beast-man, find a human child in the woods, they decide to co-parent the mortal babe… at least for now. What they don’t expect is love: love for their brand-new human charge, love for caretaking, and a blooming love between them both. Will this fantastical found family become a true family, or will love fail to come full circle?

Reviewer’s Note: I received a review copy of Life of Melody as part of my work for ANN. However, as Life of Melody is an OEL/American graphic novel, I was unable to publish the review there. However, I was given permission to publish my review elsewhere, so it’s found a home on my blog. All reviews are spoiler-free and image-free. Opinions are my own.


Life of Melody is a full-color, LGBTQ+/queer graphic novel published, initially, as a webcomic via Hiveworks and now, as part of the Seven Seas + Hiveworks lineup.

The story centers around odd couple Razzmatazz (i.e. Raj) and Bon (i.e. Lancelot) as they raise a little human foundling in a town full of magic, trees, and a very pretty lake. We follow their adventures with their found daughter Melody across the years, witnessing the growth of their partnership from barely cohabitating to something more.

That’s actually one of the joys of Life of Melody: we get to see Melody grow out of infanthood, which means we get a lot of time to appreciate the growing cohesion between our two fantasy leads, Razzmatazz and Bon. I found both to be incredibly likable: Razzmatazz is a huge, loveable nerd, and Bon, being a bea- …er, a troll beast-man, is a bit of a lumberjack-ish hunk. Both play off each other quite well, resulting in comedic scenes that got plenty of soft chuckles from me. They also work well as caretakers – once Razz gets past his prejudice about beast folk. Thankfully, this becomes a springboard for the pair to grow closer together until they eventually fall for one another.

Life of Melody is an incredibly charming volume, not just because of its fantastical leads, but also because of Mari Costa’s artwork: everything is beautifully colored in nice, woodsy shades of blue and berry, making for a pleasantly cozy read. That’s not to say everything’s perfect: there are definitely some slight pacing issues early on that remind readers that this was ultimately a webcomic far before it was a cohesive, complete volume. And while I’m not sure of the publishing schedule of Life of Melody, there are times where it reads like a week-to-week publication rather than a story intended to be consumed all at once.

There’s a lot of depth to Life of Melody which you might not assume from the cover. While there isn’t a lot of heavy worldbuilding. Mind you, that’s not to say that there’s no worldbuilding: we get plenty of neat tidbits about the world, and they all spin together to make a really charming, rustic setting. That said, Life of Melody, ultimately, is a story about found family, kindness, and opening your heart up to love: you don’t need a dynamic world in order to tell that story, as long as everything else is right. Seeing that kind of sweet story centered on gay love is awesome and powerful, especially in a time where MLM folks need a reminder that their love is just as right as all forms of romance. That’s why it’s so great to see a company as large as Seven Seas taking on more OEL titles that are explicitly queer and show different forms of MLM love, especially when it comes to the wealth of webcomics available online. Thanks to Mari Costa’s pleasant artwork and charming writing, Razzmatazz and Bon come off as incredibly authentic, despite being fictional creatures. Already they feel like queer icons that I’ll think of fondly, especially when I circle back to this title when it releases later this year.

Ultimately, Life of Melody is an easy recommendation, especially for teenagers as well as fans of Boys’ Love looking to read more original English media. Even if you don’t slot into either of those categories, it’s a story well worth setting a weekend aside to enjoy. Razzmatazz and Bon make for a lovely pair, both as parents and as partners in their found family. While there are definitely some hiccups in terms of pacing early on, the story ultimately comes to a really happy ending, full of monster boy and fairy love. Readers looking for more modern and queer fairy tales will really dig this one-shot volume about two strong but somewhat hapless magical beings try to raise a human baby. Then again, who hasn’t been felled by a baby? They’re pretty darn crafty in their own right.

Life of Melody is avaliable for pre-order now, and is rated T+ for Teens 13 and up. It has a planned release date of September 28, 2021.


Overall Rating: A-
Story/Plot: B+
Art/Illustration:
A


Read If You Like…

  • Monster Boys
  • One-shots/Self-contained stories
  • Stories with BIPOC-coded leads
  • Foes/Enemies to Lovers
  • Kidfic
  • Soft (fantasy) bois
  • HEA Endings / Happily Ever After Endings

Pros

  • Gorgeous colors and excellent stylized art
  • Well-timed, heartfelt comedy
  • Engaging MLM romance that feels authentic
  • Raj/Razzmatazz is an absolute nerd  and Lancelot is rather charming and I love them both
  • The premise of fairy tale creatures living normal human lives is always a good foundation for a good story, which this definitely is
  • Perfect for teen readers who like fantasy and want to see themselves in a cute comic
  • Ideal gift for the young, queer reader in your life, especially if they’re masculine

Cons

  • The pacing, at times, definitely feels like a webcomic that was published on a week-to-week basis
  • Fairly predicatable ending, though that’s not necessarily bad

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