By Dustin Cabeal
If you’re going to read Wires and Nerve, know that it’s a follow-up to The Lunar Chronicles and doesn’t stand on its own at all. Sure, you can read Wires and Nerve and get a general idea of the world, but this story is heavy-handed on the references of what came before it.
The gist is that a big war has concluded. There’s a new Queen and her best friend, an Android, is on a missing to capture or kill all of the… okay, they have a name for them, but they’re werewolves. There are some politics, some romance, and a lot of talking about the past. That’s, unfortunately, all of my summary of the story.
In my opinion, the two most common approaches to young adult fiction are writing to your audience or writing down to your audience. Harry Potter is a great example of writing to your audience because by doing so it opened itself up to a wider audience. Wires and Nerve take the other road. The writing not only reminds you of the story that happened before, but it reminds you of how much better that story was. Everything is explained and then explained again by a different character almost as if the writer is trying to make sure that everyone understands what’s happening. It’s so extremely redundant that it becomes a chore to read the dialogue.
Oh, the dialogue. It’s loathsome. I’m not happy to describe it that way, but that’s genuinely how I felt by the end. I didn’t want to read another dialogue bubble because it felt as if that was all I was doing. The writer never once trusts the artist to tell the story and in fact talks over the art so much that I stop looking at the art. It’s only purpose was to be a head for dialogue to come out of and considering all the characters talked the same and had the same inflections it felt pointless to pretend that there were multiple characters.
The art is nice. It’s not wonderful, but I’m left to wonder if the direction for the art had been better if the writer had been trusting, would it be great. It seems like it had the potential, but the action is never given enough of the page to play out organically, and the rest is just people standing and talking. I shouldn’t say the rest, that’s like 85% of the book, people standing and talking. The characters had diverse designs, but they lacked a range of facial expressions. There were essentially three, normal, shocked and angry. Some of the characters are similarly designed and at times if they didn’t say who was who I got lost and didn’t know who was talking… though it didn’t really matter in the end.
Wires and Nerve read like a short novel that was illustrated for shits and giggles. It does not feel like a graphic novel for the main reason that the writer never once relies on the visuals to tell the story. The artist, well they do what the can, but there’s hardly anything they can do. This huge miss, paired with the fact that it reads like a story for middle schoolers will have me avoiding the rest of the series and anything that came before it.
Wires and Nerve
Writer: Marissa Meyer
Artist: Dough Holgate
Publisher: First Second Books