Holly Black, the author of YA fantasy novels such as Tithe and Ironside, pens her first graphic novel about what else, faeries. Surprised? I was. I didn’t realize this was a graphic novel.
Rue Silver’s mother, Nia, is a faerie. She fell in love with a mortal who made a pact with her father for her hand in marriage. That promise gets broken and her mother is whisked back to the faerie realm.
Rue’s mother has been missing for more than 3 weeks and her father, Thaddeus, doesn’t seem to be worried about her. He hasn’t reported her missing and he hasn’t been going to work. He just sits and stares at nothing.
Thaddeus is a college professor who teaches Folklore at Benton College. A colleague of his, Amanda Valia, has been covering for him. It seems that Thaddeus and his faerie wife were having marital trouble. Rue overhears them arguing one night and that’s the last time she has seen her.
Aside from her mother’s disappearance, Rue begins to see the world around her with different eyes. The well hidden, supernatural community around her begins to reveal itself and this makes her think that she’s losing her mind. She sees shapes hidden in shadows, strangers who know her name and winged faeries staring back at her. What’s going on?
To complicate matters, her house is raided by the police one night when she’s out with friends. They have arrested her father for the murder of a college student. It doesn’t look good for him since her mother’s been missing for more than 3 weeks. So the police suspect foul play and take him into custody.
Much of the story is spent with Rue investigating her mother’s disappearance and doing a little detective work to prove that her father is innocent. Her friends chip in and help. The story gets interesting when she meets her mother’s family for the first time. Her faerie grandfather Aubrey, along with his assistant, Tam, have filed a temporary custody order for Rue to live with him but she rebuffs the offer.
Aubrey is not exactly a nice man and he has a menacing air about him. Aubrey confirms much of what Rue suspects about her birthright and demands that she makes a choice. He gives her a quick history of the relationship between humans and faeries or as they call themselves, “the good neighbors.” Faeries at one time were considered a peaceful people that humans once feared and as Aubrey tells Rue, “they shall fear” again. Ominous words of what is to come for unsuspecting humans.
At the heart of this story, it is about a daughter searching for her mother and learning about her true heritage. It’s a novel about loyalty and self-discovery. The story is somewhat dark and populated with strange faerie folk who seem somewhat friendly but dangerous.
I enjoyed this graphic novel especially since it utilizes much of Holly Black’s strengths. She is really good at contrasting supernatural elements with that of modern reality. It’s one of the reasons why I will always seek out her work. If you’re already familiar with her darker, fantasy novels for teens, you can expect more of the same here, without a lot of dark undertones and violence.
This is a decent first effort in my opinion but then I’m a amateur reader in this genre. The artwork has to grow on you but otherwise, I’d rate this a B. Kin The Good Neighbors, Book One managed to fulfill my expectations. I’m hoping book two will elevate this series to a higher level of storytelling that Black is known for. It will be interesting to see how many of Holly Black’s fans will embrace this format. I think it’s worth a look. B.