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Mercury Paperback – April 6, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
I don't want to give away too much of the plot, which unfolds very naturally, so that tossed-off comments in Tara's time illuminate Josey's past. What's history for Tara also foreshadows what's to come for Josey & her family, as they host a handsome young stranger in their home, who promises a treasure of gold waiting to be found ... but for Josey, the promise is one of love & marriage, as well.
The art is especially lovely & evocative. Larson uses a flowing, organic line that practically quivers on the page, imparting a certain dreamlike quality to the story. She has a delightful habit of adding tiny labels to details in a panel, avoiding the trap of mannered cuteness & adding a genuinely tender, magical touch. Yet the feeling of an everyday world, one we all know, is never lost. The story comes first, and the stylistic flourishes always serve the story.
This is marketed for younger readers, but it's that rare thing: a real all-ages book, one that can be enjoyed by adults as much as teens. Tara's & Josey's emotions ring true, whether a younger reader is experiencing them for the first time, or an older reader is remembering them from childhood. As much as I've loved her earlier work, starting with "Salamander Dream," I eagerly look forward to what she creates next!
This book follows the stories of two young girls. Tara is a young girl in current times whose house has burnt down. She is struggling with starting at her new school and finds a pendant in her mom's old jewelry that is intriguing. Alternating with Tara's story is the story of Josey. Josey lived in the same area as Tara but in 1859. Josey has meet a handsome young man that promises to find gold on Josie's parents' farm and make the farm rich. As things progress the two stories become somewhat tied together.
I liked the illustrations a lot. Larson does an excellent job clearly picturing the actions of the characters, the frames are easy to follow and there is never any doubt about what she is trying to portray. To make the two stories easier to follow the frames telling Tara's story have a white background behind them and the frames telling Josey's story has a black background. Also any Canadian slang is clarified with asterisks below the frames. So overall very easy to follow and clear illustrating. The style of illustration is fairly minimalist with pictures done in black and white, no shades of gray. The drawings are not intricate but they are detailed enough to portray the landscape and background of the settings.
The story was intriguing. Josey's story is the more intriguing of the two as it focuses on Josey's relationship with a young man, Asa, and her family's quest to find gold. This story has more urgency to it and was more engaging than Tara's story. Tara's story was boring at points.Read more ›
Written and Illustrated by Hope Larson
(Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, 2010)
Another excellent graphic novel from up-and-coming artist Hope Larson (creator of "Chiggers," "Gray Horse" and "Salamander Dream") Working in rich, thickly-lined black-and-white, Larson is a master of understatement, crafting emotionally resonant, compulsively readable, pleasingly intelligent stories. As with her other works, the emphasis here is more on the "novel" aspect, less on the "graphic," in this mix of Gothic romance and modern young-adult tween-teen fare. "Mercury" tells the story of a star-crossed Nova Scotian family whose secrets and downfall span three centuries, in which a fortune is found, lost, and found again, and with it the romantic dreams of two young girls whose lives are generations apart. Larson skillfully doles out details, waiting until the very end for explanations and resolution -- and as with the best literature, the journey is perhaps more important than the destination. Indeed, the main character of Tara Fraser is immensely appealing, and I was sorry to see her go after the all-too-quick ending.
If you are looking for comicbooks that value intelligence and originality over formula and violence, this is a very good choice. Great teen reading; adults will appreciate it too! (DJ Joe Sixpack, ReadThatAgain book reviews)
Josey's family seems to have the chance of good-fortune, assuming Asa is right about the gold. Asa courts Josey and seems to have good intentions, despite a mysterious and possibly shady past. Josey's mother is extremely suspicious. She has some psychic abilities and sees bad omens, but is also a nag, so you can't be sure she doesn't see exactly what she's looking for.
Tara's family seems to be doing badly. Tara sleeps on the floor in her cousin's bedroom and wears donated clothing which results in her being mistaken for a boy on her first day at school. Her mother has taken a job in a distant city and wants to relocate with Tara when finances are better, meanwhile Tara is very upset at the prospect of selling the farm land which has been in the family for 100s of years.
As the story progresses, Josey and Tara both see visions like Josey's mother describes. Both have the sight and have a little more guidance as their fortunes unfold.
This is an engaging comic book which had me hooked. The time shifting and psychic visions are done in a way that feels natural and moody, and not at all cheesy. The feel of the story is realistic. Josey's family argues, and she fools around with her friends. Tara argues with her mother and jokes around with her friends from school. Any given page is realistic with a little bit of tongue in cheek.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had high hopes for Hope Larson as I looked for graphic novels for my grand nieces and nephews this past Christmas. Read morePublished on January 14, 2014 by J. Myers
About a year ago, I had the pleasure of purchasing and reading another one of Larson's graphic novels, "Gray Horses. Read morePublished on December 24, 2013 by Imani Pratt
Tara's house burned down. The farm had been around forever and she really wished she could still live there. Read morePublished on March 23, 2013 by Brittany Moore
When I was recently at the bookstore I was drawn to the cover. Then I read the back and was intrigued. Read morePublished on December 29, 2011 by Amazon Customer
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... Read morePublished on September 28, 2011 by Amazon Customer
Josey and Tara are both the same sage, both live in the same town in Nova Scotia, both have families that are struggling to survive... Read morePublished on September 10, 2011 by Andy Shuping
Nice to see that comics aimed at younger readers can be this good. Top notch art, compelling story and plenty of stuff for both teens and adults to like. Read morePublished on May 2, 2011 by John Littrel
Reason for Reading: This is a Cybils '10 nominee and required reading for me as a graphic novels panelist. Read morePublished on November 7, 2010 by Nicola Mansfield
This is my first graphic novel, so I am a real newbie at reading/viewing a story in this format. Mercury was a good place to start for me -- a lovely little historical mystery set... Read morePublished on June 24, 2010 by D. Salerni