Tuesday, January 09, 2007

VAMPIRE LOVES by Joann Sfar

VAMPIRE LOVES, published last year by First Second Books, collects English translations of the first four of Joann Sfar's GRAND VAMPIRE books, originally published in France from 2001 to 2003. It features the various adventures and romances of the vampire Ferdinand of Lithuania and his various companions, including other vampires, witches, ghosts, living plants and others.

I was pretty disappointed in this book, overall, after really enjoying Sfar's THE RABBI'S CAT a while back. There are a lot of nice small scenes spread among the four stories, in particular the first two, but overall the stories just felt a little directionless.

Quite frequently the stories would just drift from event to event, having stories like Ferdinand getting involved with the police in a murder investigation for no good reason, which just kind of goes on for a while until everyone loses interest and moves on to something else. So you'd get these story fragments (some of which I gather relate to characters from other Sfar books popping in) that aren't that interesting in their own right and aren't even properly tied up.

I think the biggest flaw, though, was that Sfar just failed to make me really care about any of the characters enough that I cared what happened next and how everything would resolve itself. It's a shame, since there were hints of some interesting stuff sprinkled throughout, and a lot of Sfar's art was nice (although there too it compares poorly to THE RABBI'S CAT).

Fortunately I picked up another Sfar book at the same time, a volume of THE DUNGEON (with Lewis Trondheim), and I liked that a lot. More on that later.

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