Monday, March 14, 2011

Review: Finder: Voice by Carla Speed McNeil

"Voice follows Rachel Grosvenor as she navigates the high-pressure social gauntlet that is her clan's "conformation" process, competing for knighthood in an attempt to win security for her mother and sister. (Lynne, however, can take care of himself.) But when the heirloom that's key to her eligibility is stolen, Rachel faces the impossible task of recovering it from the sprawling layer-cake maze of Anvard - and fast! She's certain wandering family friend Jaeger Ayers would know where to start... but where do you turn when you need to find a "finder"? And what if you dig up one of the stray cat's payback-minded enemies first?" BARNES &NOBLE.COM

Finder came to my attention after it won a 2009 Eisner Award . Voice is a great starting point for those  new to the series. In Rachel's world your identity and your future is determined by your clan status. Rachel straddles the fences between two clans : Her mother is a flamboyant Llaverac and her father was a sturdy Medawar. Now coming of age Rachel is in a contest that is a crazed combo of American idol and the Miss Universe pageant. She is holding her own hoping to make it into the top groups when an attack leaves her without her signet ring and disqualifies her from the contest. Panicked Rachel begins a quest to find her mother's ex boyfriend Jaeger a Finder.

Through her journey to find Jaeger and find her ring we are introduced to all the wonders and depravities of  Anvard.  The power and opportunities that come with Clan lifestyle are somewhat secondary to Rachel. She is also looking to secure a future for her family especially her younger sister who possesses little of the Llaverac looks and whose future prospects are very limited.  McNeil's Finder series is an opportunity to explore issues of celebrity, class and power in a fascinating futuristic society. What connects all these elements is Rachel herself. Years of bridging two worlds have left her personality and loyalties split. Working to maximize the Llaverc qualities she possesses will push her to the forefront of the Clan for good and bad.

This story is a perfect fit for the graphic novel format. It is amazing the vibrancy and subtlety in shading that Carla portrays in her art. She is not limited at all by the Black and White format. What also makes this series stand out is that it started out as a Web comic before being collected by Dark Horse comics. The web comic community continues to  produce some of the most original and exciting work in the comics field.  

A wonderful adventure with a satisfying ending I really hope Rachel and her future adventures return to the series soon. This is an amazing volume and really makes me want to read the entire series.




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