This is a really well drawn story and moves along at a good pace. It works two different ages together with a clever and inventive device and the story is fun, creepy and quite an adventure. Larson shows some good awareness by explaining all the quirky Canadianisms in a number of footnotes, which is a nice, helpful touch. I also learned who the Acadians were, which was interesting. At times this reminded me of fellow Canadian graphic artist Jillian Tamaki who does similarly enjoyable work.
Are you looking for a graphic novel to try for the first time? Or you are already a fan of the genre? In either case, look no further than Hope Larson's MERCURY.
MERCURY is a story told in two voices: Josephine and Tara. Separated by over 100 years, the two girls are connected far more than Tara could imagine.
The story starts in the present. Tara is currently living with her aunt and cousin because the old farmhouse she had lived in with her mother has burned down. The fire has forced her mom to look elsewhere for work. So in the meantime, Tara is back at the school she attended until her mom started homeschooling her two years previously.
In the past, Josephine's family is approached by a drifter, Asa. The traveling gentleman has discovered there is gold located on their farm. For a part of the profits, he is willing to help Josephine's father mine the gold.
Tragedy happens both in the past and the present, but a mysterious necklace seems to hold the key to what happened before and could help Tara eliminate problems in the now.
You may wonder where the title comes from. If you pick up MERCURY and give it a go, the mystery will be solved. Ms. Larson slowly builds the story until the ending starts to come together into a whirlwind of a crescendo. The plot is woven brilliantly. It took quite a few pages until I was able to predict the outcome. Which in my opinion is always a plus!
The illustrations are creative and the distinction between the past and the present is clearly depicted. Even though the story is told in graphic form, there were moments clearly expressed showing budding romance, creepy environs, anger, mistrust, adventure, and any other myriad of feelings.
MERCURY is not to be missed. It has put Hope Larson on my list of authors to watch.
This is my fourth graphic novel this year. I am surprised that at 40 years of age I am being drawn to graphic novels. I started with authors like Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci, because I enjoyed their other works. Hope helped illustrate Geektastic, one of my favorite books this year, so I wanted to check out some of her other works.
This is a story told in two parts, the first in 1859 and the second in 2009. It is a story of a family, generations apart, but in part reliving the same events, tragedy and loss. Josey Fraser lives in 1959 in French Hill, Nova Scotia. She has fallen in love with a young man named Asa Curry. Asa has found gold on his father's farm. In the same farm house 150 years later, Tara Fraser is dealing with the destruction of the farmhouse and her life being turned upside down; she is given a family heirloom and it seems to help her find what she is wishing to find.
The two stories are told alternately on pages of black with white or white with black. Josey's story is on black pages illustrated in white and Tara's are white pages illustrated in black. The pages have a wide variety of frame layouts and are wonderfully illustrated in just black and white, without using grayscale. Hope Larson is an Eisner Award winner, the highest honor for comic artists. She has developed a large and loyal fan base. The way she combines her art and words, forming a single powerful narrative, is inspiring to her readers. This is a story told across time, but bound by blood. It is reminiscent of Madeleine L'Engle's An Acceptable Time. Larson's current project is a graphic novel adaptation of L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. Reading this book will spark the imagination and bring out dreams, and will cause you to consider the history presented within this story and also your own personal story - your family history. I met L'Engle a number of years ago and she said her characters are real to her. Every now and again she would get a flash of where they are now and what they are up to. I wonder what Tara is doing a year later, what she will be doing in 5 or 10 years? Maybe someday Larson will tell us that tale.