This post of American Vampire by author Scott Snyder, Illustrations Rafael Albuquerque has been adapted from two previous posts. First is the spoiler free review followed by the spoiler full review and summary.
Spoiler Free Review
American Vampire is a graphic novel series that claims to bring horror back to the vampire genre. In my opinion, it failed. It’s not scary and worst of all it’s not that interesting.
I’m not a huge vampire fan to begin with. I think the whole genre is completely exhausted. There are a few notable exceptions like my favorite classic Buffy, and modern takes like the incredibly disturbing movie The Transfiguration. But traditional vampires are boring anymore. There’s nothing left to discuss.
Seriously, how many ways can you spice up this old trope?! Let’s move on!
American Vampire works off the premise that there are several species of vamps and the American ones are the newest and most dangerous. They threaten the way of life for the old school vamps who prey on young women and can’t come out in the daylight. American vampires are bigger, faster, stronger, smarter, and blend into society better.
The whole series reads more like an anthology than one coherent story. It hops around through key points in American history but forgot to make me care about any of it. I didn’t care about the main characters at all. They were underwritten and lacked a focused conflict.
The art is good and has some really fun monster designes but that’s not enough to make it a desireable read. Overall, it commits the greatest sin of being boring. It’s a very meh book.
Meh books are the worst to write reviews for. If I love something I can praise it for pages. If I hate something I enjoy laying out my argument for why it’s bad. But for a graphic novel like American Vampire all there really is to say is meh.
If you really love vampires. Like love anything and everything vampy, this might be more fun for you. But for most of us I think it has done little to reinvent the genre or stand out amongst the dozens and dozens of simiar stories already out there.
American Vampire Summary
American Vampire is a graphic novel series that attempts to put the scary back in vampires. In the forward it takes some jabs at Twilight and the other sexed up vamp stories. It says it aimed to be horror but on that front I think it mostly failed.
American Vampire does have some good designs for the characters. I think the asthetic of these vampires is definitely more on the scary side. I just don’t think vampires are scary. There seems to be absolutely no new ground left for the genre.
This series works off the premise of there being several species of vampires and this new American breed is the most dangerous. They’re bigger, faster, stonger, and can actually go out in the daytime.
So it places vampires in various stages of US history like the roaring twenties, the wild west, and old golden age Hollywood. But it lacks a strong central story line to tie it together.
It mostly follows Pearl, a young aspiring actress who gets tricked into being a meal for a group of high powered Hollywood vampires. She is left for dead when Skinner Sweet, THE American vampire turns her so that she doesn’t die. Now she is one of this new breed as well. She breaks in her fangs with sweet revenge by draining the man who gave her over to the Hollywood vamps.
From there the book kind of follows both Pearl and Sweet on various story lines while also detouring into other characters and minor unconnected stories. I found myself waning in and out of interest with this structure.
Sweet had at one point in history impregnated a woman who had a daughter. Mom and daughter are both after him for revenge. The daughter will pop up throughout many issues before their paths ever cross.
There are also vampire hunters who want to eliminate all vampires but haven’t yet figured out the American vampire’s weakness. Each species has a different one, American vamps are weak to gold. Pearl’s human husband tells the hunters this behind her back.
The hunters recruit her husband after he feels de-masculated being rejected from the military. Sweet vows revenge for Pearl. Also, Pearl’s old roommate from her actress days is now a vampire who wants to kill her. There is a lot of cat and mouse in this book and it all gets drawn out too long.
Pearl hunts her husband to save him from Sweet. Sweet’s daughter hunts a cure for herself as a half vampire. More hunting, not a lot of conclusions.
Daughter joins the hunters. Then Pearl and Sweet get tricked by the hunters into working together again. They have sex, Pearl feels bad about it.
Roommate finds Pearl, says Sweet sold her out, double cross! Roommate tries to spite Pearl by turning her husband, she fails when husband kills roommate and then dies himself. Now Pearl has no one and we should feel sad.
The last volume I read was a straight anthology with completely unrelated stories.
I enjoyed some parts of this book, and I definitely enjoyed the art. But overall I really wasn’t that interested in finishing it. It was simply okay. I wanted horror but got drama with a little blood shed.
It’s hard to make something as played out as vampires that interesting anymore. It’s all been done. If the book had focused more and had a stronger main storyline I might have cared more about the characters which would have made any horror aspects more stronger. But I really didn’t care that much about any of them.
Pearl is kind of boring and Sweet is too enigmatic. I don’t understand why he saved her and I don’t care what happens to either of them.
I found out after I had read these 6 volumes that there are actually more out, just not on my library app. I was disappointed to find out it’s still not a closed series because I thought I had finished it. At this point though I seriously doubt I’ll be returning to this lackluster series at any later date.
2.5/5 vampires 🧛♀️🧛♀️🧛♀️
For the best vampire book check out I am Legend
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Buy it here:
American Vampire Vol. 1 (American Vampire (Paperback))
American Vampire Vol. 2 (American Vampire (Paperback))
American Vampire Vol. 3 (American Vampire (Paperback))
American Vampire Vol. 4 (American Vampire (Paperback))
American Vampire Vol. 5 (American Vampire (Paperback))
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