Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fevre Dream (Graphic Novelisation) – review

Adapted by: Daniel Abraham

Illustrated by: Rapa Lopez

First published: 2011

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: George R.R. Martin’s moonlit tale of feuding vampire clans, death, and debauchery in the bayou!

Set in 1857 along the muddy Mississippi, FEVRE DREAM introduces Abner Marsh, a remarkably ugly man who longs to captain the fastest steamboat on the river. When a pale, mysterious gentleman named Joshua—who keeps strange hours and stranger friends—approached him with an offer of partnership, Abner’s dreams appear to come true… though he may have unleashed a nightmare on the unsuspecting shores!

Adapted by Hugo-nominated author Daniel Abraham and artist Rafa Lopez, this graphic novel stays faithful to Martin’s original dark vision, immersing the reader in the tortures and joys of vampire society.

The review: If I were asked to list my favourite vampire novels, George R.R. Martin’s Fevre Dream would always make an appearance. As such it was with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation that I approached this graphic novelisation.

And it’s… not bad. The story is respected and we get the tale of the 19th Century Mississippi with vampires who are a separate species to humanity. The Red Thirst – as these vampire’s name their hunger – only comes upon them when they reach adulthood and must be sated once a month (though many sate it much more often than that). At this time they also become so sensitive to sunlight that they will literally burn in the sun. Joshua has a plan to set his people free as he has created a replacement for human blood using sheep’s blood and various chemicals.

Things are not so simple however. The vampires have a dominance based society and one vampire may well dominate another (a battle of wills symbolised graphically with wolves). The winner is a Bloodmaster and the other vampires will follow his command and between Joshua and Damon Julian, a vampire who likes to indulge his nature, there is a Bloodmaster too many on the Mississippi.

I said it’s not bad, and it is certainly better than many a graphic novelisation I have seen. The artwork is very good (though perhaps a tad too much of a graphic-style for my taste, losing some of the atmosphere to my way of thinking, but that is just a taste thing). However it is a graphic novelisation of a fine piece of prose writing and, whilst enjoyable, it is a shame to lose Martin’s evocative prose style.

If I were to be asked whether someone should get this or the novel, it would be the novel every time. The story is good and, of course, that is present in both formats but Martin is a master author. That said if you already have the novel and want a different experience within Martin’s world it is a good stab at it. 6.5 out of 10.

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