When angsty teenager Mary Shelley is not interested in carrying on her family’s celebrated legacy of being a great writer, but she soon discovers that she has the not-so-celebrated and super-secret Shelley power to heal monsters, just like her famous ancestor, and those monsters are not going to let her ignore her true calling anytime soon.
Everyone expects sixteen-year-old Mary to be a great writer. After all, her mother, her aunt, and her grandmother are all successful writers (as they constantly remind her)—not to mention her famous namesake, the OG Mary Shelley, horror author extraordinaire. But Mary is pretty sure she’s not cut out for that life. She can’t even stay awake in class! Then one dark and rainy night, she’s confronted with a whole new destiny. Mary has the ability to heal monsters… and they’re not going to leave her alone until she does.
With the help of a mysterious (and mysteriously cute) stranger, a Harpy, a possessed stuffed bunny, and her BFF Rhonda, Mary must uncover her family’s darkest secret if she’s going to save the monster world… and herself.
This was fine. Li’s artwork is attractive, there is an assuredness with the panel layout, and line work makes this a pleasing book to look at. Storywise this is very much standard supernatural YA fair. The titular Mary is a likeable protagonist suffer under the weight of expectation from her family to become a great writer but wants something different for herself.
For the most part, Grant’s script balances teenage angst, horror with quippy humour rather well. It very much falls into a Buffy The Vampire Slayer mould of YA stories. It works well enough, and there are some stand out characters such as the Harpy with a toothache. Its when the quirky monsters are on the page that the book soars. However, I did not connect with any other human protagonists as much. The pacing of the story felt rushed toward the end, and there was a moment of Deus ex machina involving one of Mary’s schoolmates that did not work.
This book isn’t aimed 40-something blokes, but for teenagers looking for supernatural YA there’s is a lot to admire about Mary. Not my cup of tea, but it does what it sets out to do and does it rather well.