Happy New Year, Your Urban Fantasy. A new year means new books! I’m certainly looking forward to quite a few of them. But I’m wondering about you guys. I decided to take a select number of popular titles and let you all vote for the most anticipated book of 2013.I will probably read most, if not all of these myself, but which one is #1? Oh and what is today’s lesson? “Burned”, “Ever After”, and “Tempt” are popular title terms in the world of urban fantasy/paranormal fiction. “Grave” too, but those additional book are omitted.
It took me a little while to get around to reading the second and final volume for the Moon Called graphic novel. What with no bookstores nearby, I wasn’t totally sure if I wanted to pay for a comic that I couldn’t see. The first volume was beautifully illustrated, but I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy the story. For me the Mercy Thompson series definitely suffers from FBS (first book syndrome), but seeing the story illustrated mitigated the experience immensely.
Volume 2 picks up directly after Volume 1. Adam’s daughter, Jesse, has been kidnapped and Mercy tries to help track her down. She has to enlist help from her vampire friend, Stefan, whose camarilla may have information on where to find her. She has to manage this on top of figuring out whose been experimenting on weres. Facing a lot of danger, Mercy has to work with vampires, werewolves and faeries while she tests her own boundaries to see where she fits into it all.
The comments from my first review remain steady when it comes to the artwork. If anything I think it’s even better than the first volume. The story is the weakest part of this entry, but I can’t say if it’s because I was never really interested when it came to the written novels or if it was because it’s difficult to grasp the whole story when you’re limited to speech bubbles. Sometimes it was hard to follow and I noticed a couple of continuity issues from frame to frame. Even still, the art exceeded my expectations when it comes to this series. I have a new way to imagine the characters. I was really happy to see Stefan this time around and he has a significant presence. I feel like the illustrator probably liked drawing him. He’s quite the looker! I like Mercy and Adam together, but I honestly wouldn’t have minded seeing her with Stefan in the books, and the graphic novel only makes it worse now, haha!
So all in all, I do recommend this if only to admire the beautiful illustrations, but you will definitely need Volume 1 as a companion to know everything that’s happened.
The second installment of the Mercy Thompson series shifts focus from the werewolves to the vampires. This time her vampire friend, Stefan, decides to call in a favor from Mercy. She risks life and limb to thwart an evil sorcerer-turned-vampire (as if vampires weren’t evil enough on their own) causing numerous deaths all around the city. The supernatural cream of the crop are all involved to take this sucker down, from head vampires to head werewolves. And even still, somehow Mercy’s abilities prove useful to help save them all.
While I’m still not totally hooked, it’s definitely a step in the right direction. This book is a lot better in terms of action and the characters are more established, so I could relate to them a bit more. The love triangle (or maybe quadrangle?) is definitely kicked up a notch and confirmed here. Adam seems to be becoming my Were of choice, but there is enough argument for her other suitor(s?) as well, so I will just see how Mrs. Briggs decides to develop that angle. I liked the incorporation of ghosts this time around, and their use is quite intuitive and sensible. The vampire politics are somewhat more interesting than the first book since I didn’t find myself zoning out quite as much.
Stefan, has potential to be an extremely interesting character as the series progresses. It’s hard to tell what motivates him which will only keep everyone guessing. That’s a good sign of complexity considering that vampires are inherently evil in this series.
So all in all, it was certainly better than Moon Called, but I don’t really have the urge to want to inhale it like I’ve had with some of my favorites. Of course, that’s not necessarily a bad thing since I can be a much more productive human being, but this doesn’t necessarily need to be shot up to the top of your TBR list, even though it’s a decent read. I am still interested enough to want to continue and see what unfolds for Mercy and her friends, so that’s a good thing. Onto Book 3!
Moon Called is the first book to kick off the very successful Mercedes Thompson series. While it follows the urban fantasy formula through incorporating vampires, shapeshifters, fae, and ghosts, it has the opportunity to differentiate itself with high quality world-building.
The main character, Mercy, isn’t the prissy princess nor is she the leather-clad potty mouth badass. She works as a mechanic, getting her hands dirty the blue-collar way. She’s not quite human though. From her Blackfoot Indian heritage she has inherited the ability to shift from human to coyote. The official term is a “walker”, but she likes to keep this knowledge low-key as there are very few of her kind left.
Unable to care for her as a newborn, her mother turns her over to a werewolf family to raise her. While she shares certain similarities with their kind, she isn’t quite as bound by their laws which makes for and interesting slippery slope as she works together with them throughout this series. In this particular book, the Were community runs into significant problems as someone is illegally creating new werewolves and performing experime
nts on them. Mercy calls upon the help of all of her supernatural friends to get to the bottom of it, so we learn a bit more about the vampires, fae, and were alike.
Overall, I started out really interested and then my interest sort of waned and it really began to slow down. Surprisingly enough, I was more engaged with development of the Were community instead of the vampires, though the vampires certainly seem to have their own qualities to stand apart from other series. I hope that I am more interested in the future books.
Even with Mercy’s sort of bland personality, I think there’s definitely potential for greatnes
s. The ingredients are all there, especially a good supporting cast. I can see myself becoming a fan of the local Alpha, Adam Hauptman. Some of my favorites series start off with less than stellar beginnings, so that won’t keep me from giving the next book a read.
I originally read this comic as an ARC and then decided to purchase it immediately before I even finished it. Since I was reading the series via ebooks, I wanted something for Ms. Briggs to sign for when I meet her at San Diego Comic Con this July. I was going to try to get through the ebooks as fast as I could so that I could then also purchase a paper copy of my favorite installment. After seeing this comic, there’s no longer a need. And even better, it fits in with the theme since it’s about the comics at Comic Con (well, it supposed to be anyway). I’m now super excited so I can spaz to Ms. Briggs in person about how wonderful of a job the artist did. I can already tell this is one of the best. Talk about doing a series justice!
No doubt this graphic novel adaptation accomplishes the most important goal of all; it’s very visually very pleasing to look at! That’s the point of a graphic novel at all, right? I actually enjoyed the comic much more than the actual book. The book comes off as somewhat bland in parts (though the series gets better with every book), but seeing the action come to life on the pages gets my adrenaline pumping. The drawing style is fabulous and not over the top. I love the coloring and shading and spent a few panels simply admiring the images. I feel like it truly captures the Mercy Thompson world. Mercy’s gorgeous, Adam’s sexy, and Sam actually looks much better than I assumed he looked in the books. I thought the artist was very good with expressing the characters’ emotions as well. A few of the transformation scenes were a little awkwardly drawn, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment.
I like that it’s close to the book. I think that made me read it much faster. Unlike the book, it kicks off with action to draw you in. It was a nice technique to keep it engaging. I felt the pacing was just right. There wasn’t a moment where I was bored and yet it stayed true to the plot.
I always have this trepidation of looking at fictional characters outside of the reading medium. 9 times out of 10 it just doesn’t capture the images I’ve conjured up in my mind. I am so pleased that’s not the case here.
We get a bonus section that’s by a completely different artist. It’s a completely different style that doesn’t portray the dark urban fantasy feel, so I didn’t really connect to it as much. Also, some of the proportions and angles were off. I recall at one point a character was drawn cross-eyed.
It ends with short of a narration of the panels to see how the artist conceptualized the panels. It was pretty cool to see their process, but not really necessary. My biggest enjoyment was in the meat of the story. I wish we could have seen Stefan, Warren, and Kyle in this volume though.
Because these look so good and flow so well, I plan to follow the comics for this series in conjunction with the books, as long as Ms. Amelia Woo continues to illustrate. It’s very rare that I can say I prefer any other medium to the original, but in this case I very much prefer the comic to the novel.
(ARC provided by NetGalley)