Review Detail

Fun take on Mary Shelley's legacy
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Teen Mary Shelley is the many times great granddaughter of the legendary writer. Everyone in the Shelley lineage has become well known writers, including Mary's mother, aunt, and grandmother. The problem? The current Mary Shelley has no interest in continuing that legacy. She's not sure who or what she wants to be, but she knows it doesn't involve writing. When she discovers that not only are monsters real but she has the power to heal them, she finds her new talent is inherited from her namesake as well. Suddenly, monsters are showing up at her treehouse asking to be healed. That alone is stressful enough but then other demons start attacking her, claiming the humans have broken a contract. Mary will have to decide where she fits in her family and what identity she will claim for herself, all without being killed by rats with glowing eyes.

I adore the premise of a lineage of Shelley's like author Brea Grant has created. I love how seriously Mary's family takes the legacy and how varied their writings are (her mom writes mystery novels, her aunt biographies, others cookbooks, etc.). It's easy to understand how Mary is overwhelmed by the highly specific path her family wants her to follow. If this becomes a series, I would love to see more of Mary's family and what their own pasts look like.

Artist Yishan Li is what makes this graphic novel shine. From the people to the monsters to the stuffed rabbit doll possessed by a ghost, I was in constant awe of how perfectly each design matched the story. Shirley in particular had some of the most hilarious expressions that had me rereading a few panels over and over in laughter. Li impressively captures body language as well from Mary's angsty moments to her empowered ones. While the plot doesn't veer much from the standard arc of a young person discovering new powers and learning to accept them, the humor and the artistry still make this graphic novel stand out.

MARY is a fun and heartwarming read I can see myself returning to. I hope this becomes a series where we can learn more about the Shelley line, Mary's powers, and what new monster ailments Mary may face.
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