This month’s #BBOTM has to be Isaac Thompson from Alys Arden’s ‘The Casquette Girls’ series. Anyone who knows me will know that I am utterly obsessed and enchanted with this series- so much so that I literally COULD NOT put the sequel, ‘The Romeo Catchers’, down. So please excuse me if this blog becomes bit like a shrine to Alys Arden over the next few months, I am just literally in awe of her writing and it makes me want to up sticks and escape to New Orleans for magic and mystery. (Be warned though that, if my glowing fangirl reviews of ‘The Casquette Girls’ has paid off, and you wish to read this series, the post below does contain SPOILERS.) So without further ado, why is Isaac Thompson my Book Boyfriend of the Month? Oh, for many, many reasons…
- Isaac is a witch, and part of the clandestine coven of teenage witches that live in New Orleans in the aftermath of a Hurricane Katrina-esque storm. By ‘witch’, read completely badass, coffee-drinking, spell-casting, muscular, sensitive, thoughtful witch who (SPOILER) turns into a CROW at will, and swoops through New Orleans at night. I DEFY you to find anything cooler than that.
- Not content with turning into a bird, Isaac is an Air witch, which means he can control that element. I loved the references to his growing confidence with magic, and how he literally has to physically train in order to be able to handle it (hence muscles)- in fact, the whole mystical, magical vibe is wonderful throughout the book, and completely different to anything I’d ever read before.
- Isaac is also an accomplished artist (swoon) and his grimoire is actually his ancestor’s sketchbook. I loved all the references to his drawings, and thought his sketchbook was a really neat touch.
- Speaking of storms, when not doing magic in Gothic cemeteries, dingy attics or abandoned brothels- yes, really- Isaac is a first responder, which means he volunteers to search for survivors in storm-hit buildings, and also repair the houses and tear them down if need be. It is often dangerous and exhausting work. Not only are these scenes sensitively handled, and written in a moving, thought-provoking way by Arden, they also demonstrate Isaac’s bravery, his resilience and his determination.
- Isaac is also head-over-heels in love with Adele, his fellow witch, and is very protective of her and their burgeoning relationship- especially in ‘The Romeo Catchers.’ This makes me kind of low-key jealous of Adele, (ha!) but I can’t help shipping them, especially as her other love interest, creepy vampire-boy Nicco, is such a controlling jerk. If I HAD to criticize Arden’s work- and believe me, it’s hard- then it would be for this: I just hate Nicco, and I don’t think the love triangle between him, Isaac and Adele works (especially when Isaac is such a downright BAE.) Nicco is by no means as cool, aloof or devil-take-the-hindmost as that other New Orleans vampire, Lestat– he’s just irritating. #TeamIsaac all the way. If I could get this printed on T-shirts, I would.
- Hmm, did I just mention Nicco? Well, since we’re on the subject, I love how Isaac hates Nicco and actually sees him for the creepy jerk he is, rather than falling prey to his ‘beautiful Dorian Gray vampire boy’ persona. Hurrah, someone who sees Nicco the way I do! I would happily join Isaac’s ‘Let’s All Hate Nicco and Make Him Stay Away From Adele’ fanclub. In fact, I’d make badges for it.
- Isaac is just, well…brave. Not to mention, principled, moral, witty and caring- it is refreshing to see such a sensitive guy be the main love interest in a YA novel- Arden very cleverly makes it into a key strength, as it allows him to connect with others, including people in difficult situations. Isaac’s emotional openness and honesty is one of his most endearing qualities, and he never seems ashamed or embarrassed about it- which of course, he shouldn’t be.
- He also has a teeny tiny little dark blonde ponytail. I don’t know why this is so alluring, but it just is. Oh, and just to repeat- he really is a downright bae.
- Isaac loves New Orleans. I love New Orleans. So this is clearly a match made in Heaven. FACT.