Friday, March 31, 2017

Graphic Novel: Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer

I have decided to take a bit of a gamble and picked up Wires and Nerve, the first in what will be a series of graphic novels by Marissa Meyer. While it may be the first of the graphic novels, Wires and Nerve actually continues the story that was initially started in Meyer's Lunar Chronicles series, which began with the best-selling Cinder in 2012, and ended with Winter in 2016.

The Situation: It has been a few months since Cinder has claimed what was rightfully hers: the throne of Luna. Finally, there is peace between Earth and Luna, and Cinder has big plans to keep it that way. All of her friends that were introduced in the Lunar Chronicles series have more or less gone their own way. Emperor Kai continues fulfilling his role as leader of Earth; Cress and Captain Thorne remain together on his ship, the Rampion; Scarlet and Wolf have settled into a life together on her farm in France; Winter is now an Ambassador, with Jacin forever at her side; and of course there is Iko, the android with feelings, who is now the heroine of the story. It was not long after Cinder took the throne that the misdeeds of the former queen begin to cause problems. The men she recruited for her army, and then forced to go undergo mutations that gave them wolfish tendencies and a taste for humans, have begun attacking people on Earth. Iko figures she is the ideal person, or android, to help track them down.

The Problem: Because she does not have actual human flesh, and is skilled in various methods of combat, Iko does prove to be incredibly good at tracking down the packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers that have been wreaking so much havoc on Earth. It seems that because of her efforts alone, attacks have decreased, and entire packs are going into hiding. However, for every pack she finds, there is always one or two that get away, and it seems these fortunate few have managed to team up with a leader determined to get revenge on Cinder for her ancestor's misdeeds. Despite being told otherwise, he believes he and his followers can be returned to their previous form, and is resolved to do whatever it takes to get to the lunar queen. The mission alone is enough for Iko to deal with, but she must also deal with often being forgotten, as she is left out of historical accounts of the events that led to Cinder claiming her throne. Also, it seems that only her closest friends seem to understand that Iko can be an android and also have feelings. 

Genre, Themes, History: This is a graphic novel that can also be labeled as young adult, science fiction, and fantasy, and is a continuation of the Lunar Chronicles series, also by Meyer. Full disclosure: I did not read any of the previous books in the Lunar Chronicles series, and I most likely never will. This is something I did think long and hard about, but ultimately I am satisfied with the summary of the story we receive in the opening pages of Wires and Nerve, and I am happy to be a part of what happens next, now that peace has supposedly been achieved. I am usually the first to complain when a well-loved series has reached a satisfying conclusion, only for the author to decide to write more books. But in this case, I support the decision, though mostly because I skipped the first round, and the second round is in a different format. Iko, the narrator, occupies that grey area of not being human, but having feelings. More than one person questions her ability to really know what feelings are, as many want to believe that anything she says and does is just a simple trick of her programming. She certainly benefits from being able to recover from almost any injury with a repair and reboot. But having wires instead of veins makes it easy for some to dismiss her, despite a fair amount of evidence that she is capable of being much more than a service android.

My Verdict: I was dubious, but only because I am essentially coming into the bigger story right in the middle. Thankfully, we are provided just enough back story to set up the new one, but not so much that I feel like those who did read the first four books (plus the bridge books) will be annoyed by the recap. I am sure many who are like me and did not read the first four will be intrigued enough that they want to go back and start from the beginning, and I can certainly understand why. Iko may be the protagonist, and a complicated one, but each of the other eight characters make at least one appearance and will seemingly have some part in the events to come. The story is fun, full of adventure, and manages to keep a fairly comedic tone for some scenes, while being incredibly serious in others. Iko may have had a smaller role in the previous books, but now she is front and center, and out of the nine, I think she is a smart choice. Naturally, I cannot speak for those who have been following the series since the beginning, but I think anyone who is just now joining in will be pleasantly entertained.

Favorite Part: When Captain Thorne surprises his incredibly dubious father with a tremendous act of bravery.

Favorite Character: I do wonder if I would feel the same way had I read the other books, but right now I enjoy the stories and characters of both Cress and Scarlet. 

Recommended Reading: Had I read any of the previous books, I would recommend them. So instead I will recommend The Reader by Traci Chee.     

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