Odessa by Jonathan Hill
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. Life as we know it changed forever. But for Vietnamese-American Virginia Crane, life changed shortly after the earthquake, when her mother left and never came back.
Ginny has gotten used to a life without her mother, helping her father take care of her two younger brothers, Wes and Harry. But when a mysterious package arrives for her eighteenth birthday, her life is shaken up yet again. For the first time, Ginny wants something more than to survive. And it might be a selfish desire, but she’s determined to find out what happened to her mother—even if it means leaving her family behind.
It’s unfortunate that Odessa turned out to disappoint because I was so excited for it. I had not read a graphic novel in a while and starting with this post-apocalyptic adventure seemed like a good idea. At least it seemed like a great idea until I hit the halfway mark of this book and realized I had lost all interest and concern for the story and its characters.The adventures the three main characters experience come across as so tame which is odd because they see some traumatic things. Nothing seems to happen in this novel and once you reach the end and think you can finally be done you find out the story is to be continued. What is there to continue? Nothing happened and if something did occur it was downplayed so much it passes your notice. Another thing that contributed to my lack of connection to this novel is that the art style did not mix well with me. Don’t get me wrong, it was very cool to see all of these author’s illustrations, but I did not enjoy how the only color used in the whole novel was pink. It was a creative concept that sounds cool, but when you actually experience it it becomes monotonous and tiresome.
Do I have a favorite character? No. Do I have a least favorite character? No again. I felt no attachment to the main characters and it even seemed like all of the side characters weren’t actually real or significant in the story, just there so that a particular event would actually make sense and not just spontaneously occur. I appreciate the author’s ability to create and illustrate unique characters, but the way they were presented in the plot meant they held no real place in my heart.
While Odessa was not a big hit for me, I wish the author best of luck with part 2. I understand why there are people who enjoy this graphic novel because it does set up the possibility of an intriguing story, but unfortunately it did not hook me into waiting around for the chances of a better story continuation. If you are interested in the potential for a very intriguing post-apocalyptic world, I would say keep an eye on Odessa, the second part may prove surprising, just don’t count on the first novel hooking you to the story.
- Do you have a favorite graphic novel/any recommendations?
- Do post-apocalyptic stories intrigue you?
- Thoughts on only using one color in a graphic novel?