Thursday, June 23, 2011

Review Catch-Up: The Arrival and Mercury

Doing a little catch-up on my back-log of reviews by giving y'all my thoughts on some graphic novels goodness!

First up, the amazing book The Arrival by Shaun Tan

Goodreads Summary:
In a heartbreaking parting, a man gives his wife and daughter a last kiss and boards a steamship to cross the ocean. He's embarking on the most painful yet important journey of his life- he's leaving home to build a better future for his family. 

Shaun Tan evokes universal aspects of an immigrant's experience through a singular work of the imagination. He does so using brilliantly clear and mesmerizing images. Because the main character can't communicate in words, the book forgoes them too. But while the reader experiences the main character's isolation, he also shares his ultimate joy

My thoughts:
Amaaaazing!  Seriously, I'm so glad I bought this sucker.  The Arrival is just gorgeous...a book that I will thrust into the hands of anyone willing to take a gander!  There is no text in this book, but there is no need for it.  Tan portrays the difficulties of being a foreigner in a new country so well through his quirky illustrations.

If I continue gushing I'm going to insert all of those overused cliched reviewer words like "poignant" and "compelling" (which I'll admit to overusing many times myself).  So, instead I'll just say that he managed to tell a story that touched a place in my heart.  It transported me into the lives of his characters...making the unique immigrant experience more easily understood.

5/5 stars.

I also recently finished Mercury by Hope Larson

Goodreads Summary: 
August 31, 5:15 PM, French Hill, Nova Scotia: A girl named Tara is running. She runs through her nice neighborhood and up a road to the burned ruins of what was once a beautiful house—her family's house. 

August 31, 1859, French Hill, Nova Scotia: A girl named Josey is picking blackberries with her friend Connie. As the girls gossip, a handsome stranger knocks on the door of Josey's house. His name is Asa, and with his coming, Josey's life—and later in time, Tara's as well—is about to change forever.

Because there is treasure in the woods that belong to Josey's family. Gold—an untold fortune. Asa has a secret way of finding it, and his partnership with Josey's father could make them all rich. But there is darkness in the woods, and in Asa. And in the present day, Tara, Josey's descendent, is about to discover the truth about what really happened in the family's past.

Eisner award winner Hope Larson weaves together history, romance, and a touch of her trademark magical realism in this remarkable graphic novel of how the past haunts a teenage girl's present.

My thoughts:
The drawing is so expressive...I think that's one of the aspects I liked most about this novel.  Larson's expert illustrations really allowed me to connect with the characters and I happily rooted for Josey and Tara.  I became so attached to the characters that I was quite sad when the book ended...I wanted to know more about what happened to these two young girls.

There's an element of ghosts or spirits in the book and mystical occurrences which I always find to be lots of fun.  I also loved the interplay between the past and the present.  The author flipped back and forth between the two stories very frequently, which normally annoys me, but worked perfectly for this book.  Overall, I'd recommend this to those who like graphic novels, elements of the supernatural, and historical fiction - a quick fun read!

4/5 stars


  1. The Arrival sounds like an interesting read.

  2. My mother has been sick and I never got around to signing up to participate in the Literary Giveaway Blog Hop. But I've started a monthly giveaway on my blog and I've got a June Giveaway going on this month at my blog, and I'd love to invite you to stop by and throw your name in the hat for Anna and the French Kiss! It's a US giveaway only this month, but next month, I'll be offering an international giveaway for a $25 Amazon card!

    If you follow me, let me know. I always follow back!