Reading comics is a relatively new thing for me. It was only during lockdown, when I had the attention span of a fig, that I discovered the joy and page-turning wonder of graphic novels. Joe Hill's Locke & Key and The Walking Dead were my gateway series but I soon began to discover a theme with the graphic novels I was reading: they are pure art. A lot of work goes into the art, colour and expressions and the experience can often be deeper than normal novels.
I realise I'm probably the last person on earth to discover this.
Jonathan Hill's Odessa piqued my interest given my obsession with post-apocalyptic landscapes.
Eight years ago an earthquake - the Big One - hit along the Cascadia fault line, toppling cities and changing landscapes all up and down the west coast of the United States
Vietnamese-American Virginia Crane and her two younger brothers have grown up in this landscape, a strange new world based on bartering and luck. The earthquake unearthed primordial species from deep below the earth's surface, resulting in entirely new systems of fauna and flora. All of the strange new plants, creatures and bugs that emerged after the Big One are part of this world that the Crane kids have grown up in.
Ginny, Wes and Harry are used to not having a mom around. She disappeared so many years ago that only Ginny can remember her and their father has brought them up alone. When a strange package arrives from her mother on Ginny's 18th birthday, she sets off across the post-apocalyptic wasteland towards what used to be California. Little does she realise that her two younger brothers have followed her.
In a journey filled with peril, betrayals and deceit, Ginny, Wes and Harry travel across the crumbling remains of America in search of their mother. They meet strangers and long-lost relatives along the way, some of whom they can trust and some of whom they definitely can't.
Will they be successful? Only time will tell because Odessa ends on a heck of a cliffhanger!
I enjoyed Odessa a lot. The art work was simple but powerfully portrayed the desolate and crumbling landscape through which the kids travel. I enjoyed the story too, especially the idea of new plants and bugs being unearthed by the Big One. I'm definitely looking forward to the next graphic novel in the series but there is no news on a release date yet. Hill has mentioned just how much work a graphic novel is - and he is doing both art and story - so hopefully that process is going well.
I give Odessa an excellent four out of five stars and recommend to post-apocalyptic graphic novel lovers.
I received an electronic copy of this novel from Netgalley. I will always provide an honest review, whether books are provided to me or purchased by me.