“Do you think anyone ever comes back?”
Orphaned at a young age, Salamandra is a witch trying to come to terms with her powers and make sense of her environment. Sequel of the first Hopeless, Maine series, she finds out that she may not be the only living member of her family after all. At the same time, her good friend, Owen, feels powerless against his mother’s doctor, who gives out an undeniable sinister feeling.
Salamandra, Closet Witch
Although she verbalizes her hate for her absent parents, she is rather sentimental. Upon learning of a grandfather, she is quick to make her way to look for him. Her insistence to stay by him despite Owen’s vehement doubts (“He’s mad.”).
It can also be suggested that Salamandra is oppressed by her past, and is looking for an outlet to break free. Finding freedom in her magic, Owen, and her grandfather, she clings onto them as a way out from the orphanage, away from what she would have been raised up to be.
Owen, Growing Pains
Going from a figure of wisdom in the first book, it seems like the roles of him and Salamandra have been swapped. He becomes insecure, letting his worries about his mother (and her doctor) consume him. It can also be said that Owen has a certain level of closeness to his mother, juxtaposed against the conflict he has with his father’s strictness.
Like Salamandra, Owen looks to run away from everything not in his control, suggesting that he is rather strict on himself as well – a Type A personality.
Hopeless is an epicentre of powerful clans – an underbrewing of politics and turmoil under its thinly-veiled, twisted, dark exterior. Its environment is personified through Salamandra and Owen’s struggles – impenetrable except through the medium of magic.
Two faces of familial ties are shown in this book.
Familial disgrace is rampant – how Salamandra wants nothing to do with her parents due to their mistreatment of her and her brother. Owen, ashamed that he is unable to help his mother, wants to do nothing else except to run from his relatives, who are either disgracefully sheepish or care more about the family name than they do with human lives.
However, there is a glimmer of hope, represented by the lighthouse manned by Salamandra’s grandfather, which also happens to be the gateway out of the darkness. Within the lighthouse, Salamandra finds her only family and does her act of sacrifice and love to both her grandfather and Owen – sacrificing her own passage and happiness so that they could be.
Style & Structure
The Hopeless, Maine series is told in a form of a graphic novel – the visuals used to tell or hint their moods and words. The stills of subtle glances and dark shading sufficiently represent the place and story well. The background write-ups also give a good hint on what is to come later.
To find out more about the Hopeless Maine series, or what Tom & Nimue Brown are up to, click here.
In the meantime