Review: Wires & Nerve by Marissa Meyer & Doug Holgate



Rating: 4 stars
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Genre: young adult science fiction graphic novel
Format/Source: hardcover, from the library
Status: Volume 1 of the Wires & Nerve series,
companion to The Lunar Chronicles series

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Summary:
In her first graphic novel, bestselling author Marissa Meyer extends the world of the Lunar Chronicles with a brand-new,action-packed story about Iko, the android with a heart of (mechanized) gold.When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous peace alliance between Earth and Luna, Iko takes it upon herself to hunt down the soldiers' leader. She is soon working with a handsome royal guard who forces her to question everything she knows about love, loyalty, and her own humanity. With appearances by Cinder, Cress, Scarlet, Winter, and the rest of the Rampion crew, this is a must-have for fans of the bestselling series.

Review:
I'm not 100% sold on Doug Holgate's art, but the story is pretty amazing. Not only does Wires and Nerve show a rare look at post-Happily Ever After (spoiler alert: it's not 100% happy), but I also love getting inside Iko's head. She really was just as involved in the primary plot of The Lunar Chronicles in saving both Earth and Luna, but she's the 9th wheel, and as an android, she's shunted off to the shadows behind the eight beautiful, charismatic, intelligent, famous, and royal main characters. I love seeing how she reacts to the erasure of her part in the story (even though it super sucks because Iko is amazing).

One thing that has always intrigued me about The Lunar Chronicles is how Marissa has explored the discrimination of cyborg and androids. From my (white and very privileged) point of view, the Earthen Union exists in a primarily culturally peaceful state. I don't want to say it's post-racial because obviously these countries and commonwealths still have cultural differences, and race stll exists; however, we get very little information regarding conflicts between them as readers mostly see the primary conflict with Luna and Levana. Therefore, most of what the readers witness discrimination is against cyborgs (humans with robotic features) and androids (straight up robots), and that continues in Wires & Nerve. Not only is Iko (understandably) treated awfully by the rogue Lunar operatives she's hunting, but she deals with a lot of shit from people too.

The love interest Kinney is kind of definitely a douche throughout most of the book. He and Iko have good I-hate-you-and-want-to-smash-my-face-on-yours tension, but if this were a human couple in any other novel, I'd be very hesitant to ship it if one of the two were displaying such obvious disdain for the other's very existence. Like when she is injured at the beginning and needs to get some replacement parts, Cress and Thorne take her to a boutique in LA where the employees insult her over and over. Oh, AND this boutique sells a "hero collection" that basically slapped the main eight's faces on android bodies. Considering most of these androids are "companions," it gives me the heebie jeebies. It's the futuristic equivalent of a blow-up doll, and it's gross. Thank goodness for Thorne making me laugh during this scene (he gets a crush on himself, obviously) because it upset me greatly.

I am extremely excited about the foreshadowing of what's to come AND learning more about Iko's creation. It looks like Linh Garan had some more tricks up his sleeve! I like that even though he was only ever alive on the page in "Glitches," he's had such a big role. It's a cool and unique choice for the series. Plus, kissing. I need oh so very much more kissing. Although one minor complaint is that I can't quite tell exactly when Wires & Nerve takes place in the timeline, especially in relation to "Something Old, Something New," the TLC epilogue in Stars Above. The other novellas are easy to place, but Wires & Nerve & SOSN are confusing a little bit. I'll have to go back and read them more closely.

As for the art, Doug Holgate's imaginings of these beloved characters is not how I would imagine them. It's fine, but his style is not one I love (although I looked at some of his other work, and it looked pretty good. This might be a case of me not liking how an artist renders some of my beloved characters so, as with any review, take this with a grain of salt because it's just about my taste and personal opinions). I would have loved a touch more realism or a slightly more manga look.

And for such a popular series, I really don't understand why the art is colored blue with orange accents. I mean, I do understand why this is a thing (more here about blue & orange in entertainment, particularly movies & movie posters, here), it's just not aesthetically pleasing to me. I get it; full color is SUPER expensive. But with the number of fans the series has worldwide, really? You couldn't spring for color? The blue looks unfinished, like I'm reading a draft. It's disappointing for a series as popular and well-liked as The Lunar Chronicles.

Nevertheless, the story and the continued character development reigns supreme, and I'm happy to have this extension of the TLC universe. Definitely looking forward to volume II, although I won't be buying copies for myself until a box set (or combined edition) exists because I know it totally will.

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About the Author:
Marissa Meyer is the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Heartless and The Lunar Chronicles. She lives in Tacoma, Washington, with her husband and twin daughters. She’s a fan of most things geeky (Sailor Moon, Firefly, any occasion that requires a costume), and has been in love with fairy tales since she was a child. She may or may not be a cyborg.

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About the Illustrator:
Douglas Holgate is an Australian illustrator and comic book artist whose work has been published extensively around the world.

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4 comments:

  1. Nice!! I still need to read this one...as well as Stars Above because I need to read all the novellas, particularly that new one! Lol! Wasn't sure if it was necessary to read it before this one or not, even though I've already been spoiled on who got married. But I am still excited to read this one. I did find the art a tad disappointing after a casual glance, because yeah, wished there was full color as well!! But glad to hear that it was still an entertaining story! Great review!

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    1. I definitely need to reread Stars Above because I'm not sure on the timing of Wires & Nerve, but I definitely recommend reading Stars Above first.

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  2. Great review! I alo am not attracted to the cover, but maybe it's supposed to make the reader feel cold as a non-warmblooded flesh being would be? I haven't read this yet, but your review has intrigued me enough to pick this up.

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    1. Oh! That's an intriguing theory, Danielle! Very creative. I really liked the story of Wires & Nerve; I just wish the art were stronger. If you're a fan of the series, definitely give it a shot.

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