Sunday, January 03, 2010

Mercy Thompson: Homecoming by Patricia Briggs

mercy thompson homecoming Blurb from Goodreads:

Mercy Thompson is a walker, a magical being with the power to transform into a coyote. She lives on the fine line dividing the everyday world from a darker dimension, observing the supernatural community while standing apart.

When Mercy travels to the Tri-Cities of Washington for a job interview, she quickly finds herself smack-dab in the middle of a gang war between rival packs of werewolves. And as if fangs and fur weren’t bad enough, Mercy must deal with the scariest creature of all: her mother, who is convinced that Mercy is making a mess of her life and determined to set her daughter on the right course.

The thrilling adventures of Mercy Thompson–Moon Called, Blood Bound, and Iron Kissed–have topped the New York Times bestseller list. Now Mercy makes her comics debut in an exclusive new story created by Patricia Briggs. Mercy Thompson: Homecoming is sure to please longtime fans and capture new ones with its mix of unforgettable characters and thrilling supernatural intrigue.

Wow, I just read my first graphic novel. And I liked it. So have I been converted to a new book format? Unfortunately, I think the answer to that will be no. I've tried reading some of my husband's graphic novels before today and I've come to the conclusion that my brain just doesn't work in the right way to pick up the entire story in the combination of the images, words and layout. I hadn't realised how important page layout could be in a graphic novel until I tried reading one of Dave's and couldn't follow it at all.

It also doesn't help that I am very much NOT a visual person. I don't easily recognise visual patterns and struggle to remember people's names and faces (however do teachers do it?). I did one of those tests once, where you work out how you best take in information. I was so far onto the read/write scale even the guy giving me the test was surprised. I don't see pictures in my head when I read and I have to keep asking hubby "who's that character?" when we watch a movie, even if I saw them only a scene or two ago. I even frequently have to ask who an actor is and am usually quite surprised to discover it is someone famous whom I should recognise.

So no, I'm not a visual person, and I suspected a visual medium wouldn't work for me. So far, it hasn't.

But I found this book to be nicely straight forward for a graphic novel no-hoper like me. The story mostly moves progressively, and on the whole the flashbacks could be quickly recognised - even if I was a little confused the first time. But all the same, I think the fact I already knew the basics of the tale from backstory in the Mercy Thompson novels helped me a lot. I could say, "oooh, that's Zee" or "hey, there's Uncle Mike" because I already knew the characters. If it had just been a bunch of drawings and a sparsely-worded story I didn't know (strongly read/write, remember, I need words much more than I need pictures) then I think I would have struggled. Maybe that's why I struggled when trying to read hubby's graphic novels. I was going in cold and didn't have a clue.

So, after all those caveats, I'll say that I liked the book. I liked seeing Mercy come to the Tri-Cities. (Say, is that three cities that have merged or just once city called Tri-Cities? This New Zealander has no idea.) I like the way the person she came there to try to be was totally different from the one she actually turned into. It was nice to see her meet already-established characters like Zee and Stefan (and Tad too) and their first meeting makes her relationship with Adam in the very first book, where she goes out of her way to annoy him when she can, make lovely sense.

The drawings seemed good to me (don't forget, I'm the total and absolute opposite of an expert) and I could usually remember which character was which, something that isn't always the case with me. The book was beautifully made with slick, glossy pages and lovely production values. I suspect it hasn't been borrowed too many times as it hasn't started to lose that shine yet.

Would I read more graphic novels about Mercy? Yes, I would. But I admit that I would be reading them for more story about Mercy (or about Anna and Charles if they make it to comic format) than because it was a graphic novel in general.

As I said at the beginning, my brain just doesn't seem to "get" graphic novels and I've got way more than enough prose novels to keep me happy for a very long time yet. Like, say, the new Mercy book coming out in March. But if you are a Patricia Briggs fan anyway, give it a try. If you are a Patricia Briggs fan and a graphic novel fan, definitely give it a try.

I'd be interested to hear what regular graphic novel readers thought of it. Does the fact it was simple and linear enough for me to follow mean it was too easy for you? I came to it totally as a prose book reader with visual issues so I suspect I don't count as the target audience in any way.

Mercy Thompson: Homecoming
Patricia Briggs
Mercy Thompson, Book 0
Read: 3-1-10 to 3-1-10

Mercy Thompson Series

  1. Homecoming
  2. Moon Called (Goodreads link)
  3. Blood Bound
  4. Iron Kissed
  5. Bone Crossed
  6. Silver Borne (Goodreads link: Due for release 30-3-10)


Li said...

Oh, I am totally with you there. I liked it, but I'm not a visual* person either - I kept on skipping to only the written parts, and had to remind myself to take in the pictures as well.

Glad to know I'm not alone :-)

* Funnily enough, I did one of the personality assessments and was told that I think in pictures. But I'm with you on preferring the written word and not recognising famous peeps.

orannia said...

This is on my TBR list and I've been dithering over reading it. Saying that, I was introduced to manga last year and am gradually (s l o w l y :) finding them easier to read. I should try this to read this before Silver Borne is released :)