If youWires and Nerve’ve been anywhere near fiction written for teens in the past few years, then you are aware of Marissa Meyer’s highly popular series, The Lunar Chronicles, where fairy tales meet science fiction.  If you haven’t heard of The Lunar Chronicles, then go check them out.  Right now.  You’ll be glad you did.  They’re deliciously addictive and easily devoured.

The series is set in a distant future where the moon is populated with telepaths ruled by a vicious queen bent on taking over Earth.  Cars levitate magnetically, space travel is commonplace, ID chips are implanted into humans, and robots are ubiquitous.  Four familiar fairy tale characters are introduced over the course of as many novels, each named for one of these heroines—Cinder (a cyborg mechanic living in China), Scarlet (a French farm girl who sports her favorite red hoodie and lives with her grandmother), Cress (an extraordinarily skilled computer hacker with extraordinarily long hair who has been locked away since childhood), and Winter (a telepathic Lunar who refuses to use her powers and happens to be the evil queen’s stepdaughter).  Meyer adds a compelling, rounded cast of strong secondary characters to her sci-fi/fantasy mix then throws in plenty of adventure and a dash of romance to create an amazing epic.

Just when you think she’s finished her tales, Meyer plucks a secondary character—one of the ubiquitous robots—to headline a graphic novel series set in the Lunar universe.  Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 seamlessly picks up where the adventures in the Lunar Chronicles stopped.  But before we continue, if you are currently reading the Lunar Chronicles or plan to do so for the first time in the near future please note that this next chapter lies in spoiler territory.  The beginning pages of Wires and Nerve introduce the leads of the original series and continue its plotline—details of which will disappoint readers who have yet to complete (much less begin) the series.

If that’s not a concern to you, then Wire and Nerves is a great read all on its own—no Lunar backstory is necessary to follow and enjoy Meyer’s first graphic novel (an item checked off her bucket list, according to her website).  She focuses on Cinder’s android pal, Iko, for this book to great effect.  An important character in the original series, Iko sometimes took a back seat to the humans.  Here, Meyer places Iko front and center.  Although the other characters are featured, it’s Iko’s story from the start.  She has been assigned to round up packs of rogue, engineered, wolf-Lunar hybrids from their hideouts on Earth and deliver them back to Luna for trial.  Because she’s an android, she can complete the job quicker, easier, and with fewer injuries than her Earthen and Lunar colleagues.  However, Iko’s personality chip has become more human over the years (a version of Pinocchio’s inward journey to becoming a real boy) which has left her delightfully sassy although vulnerable to vanity, jealousy, and doubt.  Iko gives her best effort to the mission, but will it be enough?  After some entertaining fight scenes and witty dialogue plus suspense (Ambush! Kidnappers!), Marissa Meyer leaves Iko and readers dangling with an ominously-toned cliffhanger.  I wanted a sequel the minute I turned the final page.

Iko’s outward journey is as captivating and action-packed as anything in the Lunar Chronicles.  Her inward journey makes the story even more appealing.  Within that quickly-moving plot, Meyer sets up an exploration of the price of fame as well as what makes us human.  She started the exploration in Cinder, considering the outcome of mixing mechanical and electronic parts with human flesh; here, Meyer takes the idea further by encasing human emotions in an android.  Don’t worry—the author doesn’t spoil the fun.  All of these Big Thoughts are kept palatable and entertaining although no less thought-provoking.

The graphic novel’s somewhat cartoony art—closer to Lumberjanes than to Peanuts—helps keep the Big Thoughts grounded and accessible.  The action moves beyond the limitations set by drawing the story in panel format.  The characters appear expressive, particularly in their facial expressions.  The entire book is done in bluetone (think sepia tone but using a few shades of blue), and the cumulative effect of it reminded me of blue-screened, backlight electronics.  Characters are drawn lively, vibrant, and engaging; they drew me in from the start.  Yet, they don’t look like the ones I pictured as I read the original series.  If that really bothers you, then definitely read the original books first and possibly think twice about the graphic novel.  Honestly, the art is so engaging that you can easily move past it.

You can find Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 in the library’s Teen Department along with the rest of the Lunar Chronicles.  I hope you enjoy it!

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