Title: Twelve Percent Dread
Author/Artist: Emily McGovern
Release Date: 23/6/2022
I received a free copy from Picador ,via BlackCrowPR in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Katie and Nas are best friends, exes, co-dependents. They share everything, including a tiny room in a North London townhouse belonging to their landlord Jeremy, former host of the hit 90s show ‘Football Lads’.
While Katie bounces from job to job and obsesses about falling behind in life, Nas has bigger things in mind–waiting endlessly for their visa to come through, while working on a seismic art project that will revolutionize politics and society as we know it. Their friend Emma, meanwhile, seems to have it all figured out–job, mortgage, engagement–yet the long hours working for tech giant Arko and endless wedding admin prove equally dread-inducing.
But when Katie’s latest job finds her tutoring the daughter of Arko’s formidable CEO, Michelle, and Emma welcomes the eccentric and enigmatic Alicia to her team at Arko, none of the three women are aware that their lives–and possibly the future of society itself–are about to change forever.
The more I read of it the more I love Emily McGovern’s work. I adored Bloodlust and Bonnets and I think I enjoyed Twelve Percent Dead even more.
First lets talk art style. I really love the slightly strange mask like way McGoven draws people, with such a simple style she managed to get a lot of movement and detail into the characters, they are all unique and diverse and really jump off the page. I like the choice to use minimal colouration in this novel, also the stylistic choice of little panels instead as sweeping set pieces. This made it easy to follow, I loved all the little interstitials linking back to the social media of the characters from how many notifications they got to them quickly checking who liked their most recent posts.
The story itself was great, just enough into the dystopian to really highlight the issues it was tackling and oh did it manage to cover a lot, from out dependency on technology/social media, tech giants gaining to much power, political corruption, MLMs, immigration, all various types of relationships the list of what it covered just keeps going yet all of it seems to have a place in this story. I really adored the relationships and how detailed they managed to be with so few words and just a few panels to convey their depth. It really astounds me how deep a connection can be built with characters in such simple yet beautiful artwork.
Twelve Percent Dread just perfectly captures the state of life in your 20s/30s right now with all the hopelessness and ennui that brings but also the areas of light and whimsy and laughter that Emily McGovern brings to her work. I found myself laughing in recognition of various characters that are subtly slid into some scenes and how it perfectly captures the messiness of life.
Overall I really loved this, I have already persuaded friends to read it knowing they will love it too.