Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fever Moon: The Fear Dorcha (Graphic Novel) by Karen Marie Moning (Illustrations by Al Rio)

My Rating: 2.0 / 5.0

Amazon Rating: 3.60 / 5.00
Goodreads Rating: 3.97 / 5.00

The action in this book takes place at some point within the time frame of Shadowfever, book 5 of the Fever Series, so if you have not already read the earlier books you may want to avoid this review because it contains SPOILERS for those titles.

Now that the wall between the human and fae worlds has been shattered, Dublin is at the center of a war. As the newly-freed Unseelie bring death and destruction to the people trying to survive in the warzone, Mac faces the most deadly enemy that she has ever encountered. The Fear Dorcha is hunting Dublin’s streets, choosing victims close to her and leaving them horribly mutilated.

I read the first Fever book, Darkfever, with my book group and was so captivated by the story that I went on to read all five titles in the series, so I was quite excited to see this book arrive in the library. I am not familiar with graphic novels, although I enjoyed comics as a child, so this was a new experience for me.

The story itself was fairly brief and simplistic, which was rather disappointing after reading the novels, which had a great feeling of depth in the world building and character development. The Fear Dorche is a suitably terrifying adversary, but there is little sense of real danger and it is defeated rather too easily for my liking. It was a very quick read, even for me and I am a very slow reader, so I would have been rather angry if I had bought a copy to read. I am also not convinced that anyone who was not already familiar with the series would enjoy this title: although there is some background given, I doubt that it would be enough for a reader new to this world.

However, the biggest problem was the format itself. The artist had markedly different ideas about the look of many of the characters and places from the ones that I had in my head. Some of them seemed to be at odds with the descriptions I remembered from the books. This was especially true of Barrons in his animalistic form, which was much more human than was described in the books, so much so that it makes it laughable that Mac did not recognize him. I was also very unimpressed by the version of Mac that we are given. The actual depiction is fairly similar to how I had imagined her, but she is constantly presented in very scanty or provocative clothing and in poses that would give her severe backache and were too reminiscent of soft porn. Not only did I find this detracted from her character’s toughness, but it seemed to be misplaced in a book that will surely have a mostly female readership.

The presentation of Dublin was also a problem, as it looked far too much like a generically American city rather than one on Europe. However, I feel that the biggest weakness of the illustrations was their presentation of the Unseelie. Somebody somewhere said that radio has the best pictures, and this is also true of books, where only our imagination limits what images we ascribe to the people and places being described. This is why we are often disappointed by film of television adaptations, and I was very underwhelmed by the Unseelie, who were nowhere near as terrifying and otherworldly as I had imagined. This was one reason why the sense of danger was so lacking here, whilst in the novels it was a constant companion: these Unseelie just did not look deadly enough to make them scary.

I was pleased to see that I was not the only reviewer to have issues with the illustrations. Christine at The Happily Ever After . . . has similar reservations to mine, and gave the book a similar rating. I guess that I need to be much more careful if I approach a graphic novel in the future.

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