Thursday, 10 August 2017

Book Review: Peter David / Nicole D'Andria – 'Artful'

Vampires are such interesting and attractive creatures. We don’t seem to get tired of them anytime soon because of how versatile they are and how easy is to work with them, and even more interesting how they can change a tale such as Oliver Twist’s.

The original novel, 'Artful', written by Peter David, has been adapted by Nicole D’Andria to the comic format, and was recently published as a complete graphic novel. I’d like to have many good things to say about, as the story is pretty original and caught my attention after a couple of pages, but I must admit the art does no justice.

It would be better, to properly start, that the idea of Victorian vampires has always made me fall in love with whichever story that used it, in different intensities, to tell the whole truth. This is not an exception, as I said, but I feel some scenes could have been better created.

After so many different, alternative and changed versions of the original creature, I really felt blessed to put my hands on a more classic proposal. No one can really get tired of vampires, but Artful is a good return to the myth’s roots and offer a well known, familiar face of the race.

After you read the first pages, which were a little too slow for me, the real story begins, in the middle of the first chapter, if I remember correctly, and so the action starts to be seen. Although it is not completely explicit, D’Andria did a good job choosing which scenes should be seen and which not in order to offer a balanced result: not that familiar, but certainly not so explicit.

This is a story that, after that chance, is read by itself. It absorbed me in some way, though I was still barely aware that time was passing, which made it a heavy reading at times. There were some scenes that could have been done better, that’s for sure, but I like what 'Artful' has to offer: a good while among blood, wild creatures and a story with funny moments.

I feel that the Victorian elements in the story, however, could have been better used. It seemed like only the setting and style were the clue that this was placed in such era, as even the characters spoke, sometimes, in a manner more similar to nowadays’. Bittersweet combination although I want to think it is for its targeted teen audience.

Even more bittersweet was the art. I can see there was a lot of effort in each of the panels, but many had bad shadows, thicker than thick lines and exaggerated expressions on the characters. That my main problem with it, although the vivid colours were a good plus to compensate it.

There was also some Anime influence in the look of 'Artful'. I cannot put my finger on it, as there is no certain scene to say such thing, but if you’ve seen anime, read manga, manhwa, or any other variant, you may get the same feeling, which got me a very good vibe. It was great to have both Western and Asian style combined.

However, I still have a very good time with this book and would like to see more material like this on the market, as the Pros were more than the Cons. Very grateful to the publisher for sending me this copy, I tried to be as honest as I could. 

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