THE FLYING SURGERY
HEX VET, Book 2
Written and Illustrated by Sam Davies
112 Pages Age 9—12
Genre: Graphic Novel, Fiction
Themes: Flying Pigs, Veterinarians, Magic
It’s time for the monthly “Winged Creature Clinic” at Willows Whisper Veterinary Practice, where flying creatures from all over come to get treated. But when Glenn the Wildlife Warlock brings an injured flying pig that looks like it might have been mistreated, panic strikes and a greater mystery unfolds.
It’s up to everyone’s favorite vet witches in training, Nan and Clarion, to keep everything under control at the chaotic clinic while Dr. Talon is away. Will Nan and Clarion save the day and keep their jobs? Or are their days at Willows Whisper numbered? (from back cover)
“Grandad I’ve got your porridge ready!” [said Clarion] “You’ve been here all morning. Come and have a break!”
Why I like this book
An emergency with an injured pig sends Dr. Talon out with the Wildlife Warlock, taking a divining cat with her. Something is terrifying the animals and they are fleeing for safety. Vets-in-training, Nan and Clarion, take over the clinic area and Nurse Ariel, in an unusually grumpy mood, stays out front flying the clinic and reassuring customers. But . . . the flying pig’s injuries look like abuse, increasing anxieties. Customers are upset they must wait and Ariel’s reassurance makes things worse with their snarky attitude. Then the atmosphere explodes. A terrifying looking man climbed the tethering rope to the clinic, then sat down and observed. Suddenly, he jumps up and demands his pig back, else he will drop the spell he holds, turning everyone into a frog. Nurse Ariel pulls out their wand—as does hatless Nan—but Clarion jumps between the two.
A flying pig, inpatient customers, an angry nurse, an upset stranger with frogspawn to spill, and two vets-in-training, instead of a real magical veterinarian makes for a lot of conflict. More importantly, it all adds up to a story I could not put down. The characters are delightfully developed and diverse. The young vets-in-training both have an interesting home life, one living with her grandad and the other seemingly invisible at home. While never mentioned, Nurse Ariel has a gender-identity personality. Wildlife Warlock Glenn uses a wheelchair—flying wheelchair. (How nice would that be?) With all this going on, the writing keeps everything in order, so readers will not become overwhelmed or confused.
This second Hex Vet story is an exciting graphic novel with lots of action and magic. The flying clinic is introduced to readers and the problem in the woods gets worse. Some unknown creature has been petrifying the animals. By the end of The Flying Surgery we know if the culprit is a human, a witch, or a smuggler. The answer is not good for the characters, but it’s a great cliffhanger!
For those that like these things, there are many lessons kids can learn from the Hex Vet series. Compassion, sensitivity, the value of talking out a problem, and not judging by looks alone (get to know them first) are but a few of the things kids can learn. While those are great, the story is fantastic! Kids who like magic in their stories, or kids who like animals in their stories, and even kids who like magical animals in their stories will like Vet Hex series.
The Flying Surgery story stands on its own, but read this gripping graphic novel in the proper order. While the flying pig story is finished (actually, I hope Circe is involved in more of the long story), there are storylines that travel from book-to-book, like whatever is spooking the animals in the woods. And there are questions not answered. Clarion and Nan want to know more about Dr. Talon. If two characters want to know more, then I definitely want to know more.
Kids who like graphic novels/comics will like Hex Vet. Even reluctant readers will like the story. It does not have chapters, but there are definite stopping points in its short 112 pages. The story is mostly dialogue and easy to follow. The Flying Surgery also has humor, magic, unusual animals, and woods no one should enter, alone or not. If none of that grabs your attention, then the well-developed, strongly defined, diverse characters will. Boom Studios and imprint KaBOOM create fabulous graphic novels for all ages. The Flying Surgery and the entire Hex Vet series will take middle grade kids on adventures even parents will love.
Two scenes are favorites. The first when everyone could turn into frogs, two witches are scrunched low, covering their heads when one says, “We’re all frog legs!” The second in the same scene, Nurse Ariel tells stranger the pig is under vet care. The stranger replies, “I’ve seen what your care is like all morning, you stuck up, silver-hatted unicorn fart.”
Illustrations: Rendered in
Available at Amazon
HEX VET: THE FLYING SURGERY. Copyright © 2019 by Sam Davies. Published by KaBOOM! / Boom Studios, New York, NY.
Copyright © 2019 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
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