The mice struggle to live safely and prosper among all of the world’s harsh conditions and predators. Thus the Mouse Guard was formed.
Mouse Guard: Fall 1152, by David Petersen
Following a conversation about graphic novels in the lunchroom, my coworker generously lent me Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 from his collection. I’m not a huge fan of graphic novels, although I do enjoy the few that I’ve read – namely Alan Moore’s Watchmen and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis. I also loved manga when I was younger, but as I’ve grown older my reading tendencies have focused mostly on non-illustrated fiction. As a non-expert on graphic novels, I’m not sure how valuable my opinion on this work will be, but since this blog exists to chronicle my reading journey, I thought it’d be interesting to share.
That being said, I enjoyed the art style of the book immensely. Unlike the previous graphic novels and manga that I’ve explored, Mouse Guard uses a minimal amount of words. The mice, while appealing and cute, are still realistically drawn, as are the landscapes and other animals. Overall, Petersen does a lovely job at capturing the gentle and bountiful aesthetics of autumn, while still imbuing certain scenes with a necessary sense of foreboding. At times, I found it difficult to trace the sequence of action between the panels, especially with the lack of dialog and sound effects, but once I was used to the style of the book, it was easier to follow.
Although the artwork is lovely, I found the story itself rather bland, especially after having delved into much more complex feudal fantasy works. According to Google, this is the first book of the series, and I didn’t feel like I developed enough of an attachment to the characters to care about them. The reader is thrust into the story immediately, without really getting a sense of the different personalities of the main members of the mouse guard. In terms of appearance, the mice differ only in their fur color and cape color, so it became difficult to tell them apart. The story seemed mostly plot-focused, without any significant character development, which is usually what I look for in books. If you’re looking for a straightforward action adventure, though, you may be more satisfied.
YES OR NO?: NO. I personally did not find this book memorable, although I’m not an expert in the graphic novel genre. Still, I can think of several graphic novels that I found more enjoyable than this one by providing a thought-provoking plot and relatable, distinct characters. Although I enjoyed the art style of this book, I wouldn’t necessarily seek out the later volumes in the series.