This is the first in the series (I have read the second by accident) which is a graphic novel about Mice in what looks to be the Middle Ages. The Guard is the legendary mice who protect the hidden Mouse villages from predators, which, when you’re a mouse, are numerous. It opens with three guards men Lieam, Saxon and Kenzie going to find a lost merchant only to stumble onto the fact there are traitors seeking to expose Lockhaven, the capitol city where Gwendolyn, the head of the guard dwells.
In the meantime another guardswoman, Sadie, is on a mission and learns that the Conrad, another guard, suspects he’s being spied upon. The two story lines converge eventually in Lockhaven as they try to stop the traitors which may just be from within the Guard itself. Add in the legendary Black Axe and the stakes go up.
It’s very nicely drawn. The story is simple and clean. My two complaints would be hinged on one another and it’s that it’s hard to tell the characters apart both art wise and personality wise. Their personalities are rather broadly drawn, the young one, the gung ho one, the wise old one. Still, I enjoyed it.
The Good Neighbors: Kin by Holly Black & Ted Naifeh
I got this out of the library not expecting much since I didn’t like Black’s other faeries books but I was pleasantly surprised by this graphic novel. Rue Silver is a rather typical teen whose main entertainment is her group of friends, who are in a band, and they go urban exploring (breaking into abandoned builds etc). During one trip up to a roof, they see police converging on her house. Her professor father is accused of killing a student. To make matters worse, her mother had disappeared three weeks before so now the police think she’s also dead at his hands.
A friend of the family stays with Rue. What Rue doesn’t tell her is that she is suddenly seeing things. People are people one moment and the other they have bizarre appearances. She comes across a young man named Tam (who I’m assuming is Tam Lin) who offers up some cryptic messages.
Rue finds herself gaining distance between her and her friends, especially her boyfriend (the lead singer) and that she may just be losing her mind. Either that or her folklorist father was right and faeries exist. She soon learns that if she is sane, then she is wanted by her grandfather to join him in restoring the fae to their proper place in the world (and the fae were not kindly cute flower-sitters back in the old days). She slowly learns of her own faerie abilities and is puzzled by Tam, is he on her side or her grandfather’s to whom he is bound. And what happens to her world if the fae declare war?
The art for this is wonderful. It is some of the finest graphic novel art from a North America artist I have seen in literally years. They are not necessarily beautiful and some are downright bizarre. It is in black and white. I go back and forth between wishing it were in color or wondering if it would ruin the ambience.
I liked the storyline and I really liked Rue and Tam, especially. I’m looking forward to finding the next book in the series.
* note - for some reason LJ was not cooperating with the coding from goodreads so no covers this time