Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Eerie, Darkly Romantic, But Flawed

Source: Goodreads
Interview with the Vampire: Claudia’s Story by Ashley Marie Witter (Yen Press, 2012, 224pp.)

When most people think back on their early childhoods, the memories they’re most likely to recall are attending preschool, going to birthday parties, and making friends. For Claudia, her first memory is of the night she was turned into a vampire. Her two guardians (the ones responsible for her transformation) are Louis and Lestat. Louis guides her towards studying the classics, enjoying music, and appreciating the beauty of the natural world. Lestat, the sleek and sophisticated alpha male of their trio, on the other hand, is more interested in exposing her to the carefree life of murder and mayhem that their dark lifestyle has to offer (in other words, he’s the “fun” parent). Because of the peculiar nature of vampire biology, Claudia cannot outgrow her childlike body, though her mind has quickly matured past the point of childish interests. She soon begins to question the oddity of her existence, and wonders: Is her little coven of three the only vampires in existence, or are there others of their kind elsewhere? Although she presses her guardians for answers, both are reluctant to explain and continue to treat her like a child rather than the young woman that she has matured into. When the truth is at last revealed to her, it’s more devastating than she expected, and puts a nearly unbearable sense of strain on their family life.

Interview with the Vampire: Claudia’s Story is a graphic novel adaptation of the 1976 novel by Anne Rice. Instead of tracing the story as originally told entirely through Louis’s POV, Claudia’s Story is seen through Claudia’s eyes, and manages to fill in the gaps of Louis’s narrative. Although it provides no surprising revelations into Claudia’s character, I have to applaud the adapter’s efforts for approaching the story from this particular angle, by highlighting Claudia’s predicament as a metaphor for teen angst and rebellion.

At times eerie, twisted, disturbing, and darkly romantic as the original novel, Claudia’s Story starts out strong, but is flawed by the change of pace at the three quarter mark. From this point to the end, the story’s pacing speeds up considerably, and inevitably causes it to lose some of its dramatic power. Fans of the Vampire Chronicles and the 1994 movie should be able to follow the action as it wraps up, but first-time readers of the story may need to consult the original source material. Recommended for mature readers for violence.

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