I am notorious for picking up manga, reading halfway, and then dropping them. Waiting a few months, maybe read a few more chapters, drop them again. I will have you know that Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica is the only manga I have ever read continuously without stopping. I honestly read all 12 chapters/3 volumes in one sitting.
Starting with the story, I found it extremely original. The idea of "magical girls" has obviously been done before, but never like this. A single wish puts these young girls at the heart of demise, struggling to fight the despair in the world in order to save others. Their powers
come from their own souls, and unless they slay witches, their souls become cloudy and dark themselves. Without giving away too much, I will definitely say this story was deceiving at first glimpse. The twisted plot may be why I enjoyed it so much, but I will definitely say the story itself makes it worth reading. It's relatively short compared to many other manga, so I really would recommend just trying it.
As far as art goes, it's not horrible. Many people will argue with me saying that the art is supreme and heavenly over others, but the reality is the art is good. The art is up to par with other mangas definitely, but I would not go as far to say it's superior. Luckily, the art will not make the manga hard to read as the characters are still beautifully drawn and the Puella Magi outfits are stunning and original.
The character this story has is absolutely outstanding. The reason I could read Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica without stopping is because of how much you could relate to the characters. There's the main protagonist Madoka Kaname who is the classic sweet girl main character, however the decisions she makes do separate her from the "classic clueless shoujo protagonist". Miki Sayaka is the most relatable for myself, being that she is conflicted with doing good deeds for herself or for others, and if she does the potential consequences of it. Sakura Kyoko is the counterpart for Miki Sayaka, who made a contract with Kyuubey in order to make her father's wish come true, only to have great despair thrust upon her family. Mami Tomoe fights to save others, Kyuubey creates the Puella Magi, etc. etc. All-in-all, the characters are very fun, very original, and very relatable.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica, and would definitely recommend it to everyone. This shoujo manga is not what it seems! You may find yourself asking the very common question, "why?"