Saturday, May 26, 2007

Vampire Loves

Joann Sfar

Vampire Loves contains some beautiful art from Joann Sfar. The art was probably the primary reason for picking this title up in the first place, that and I can be in the mood for a cute, silly supernatural book such as this sometimes, and the mood struck me when I saw this title. And it is all of that: cute, silly and beautiful. Unfortunately, the rest doesn't hold together all that well. This is a good book, but like the book jacket says about Sfar's writing style, it's rambling. And when I agree with that description, I mean it meanders. It's all over the place, without much focus. The book basically follows Ferdinand the Vampire as he goes on several adventures, seeking love in all the wrong places. But the story also shifts to scenes of Ferdinand's friends (sometimes even before they've crossed paths with Ferdinand) in their relationships and extracurricular activities. I guess if there is a theme to the book it's summarized in the title: it's all about love, or the illusion of it as werewolves, golems and invisible men grope blindly for Mr. or Miss Right Now, until things go wrong and they must find comfrot in the arms of another stranger. But then we find ourselves alongside Ferdinand as he gets involved in a murder mystery, a plot that suddenly just drops away, and we're left wondering what the point of its inclusion was. A lot of things that occur in this book seem to be there just to be whacky and the "story" if there is a central story in there, isn't tight, but goes all over the board, leaving readers with puzzled feelings over what they'd just read when all is finished, with a final page that could be seen from three pages into the book because it was really the only way to bookend the stories within to make for some semblance of order in what is ultimately a mess. A beautiful mess, but a mess nonetheless. C-

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