Pinocchio Vampire Slayer Vol 2: The Great Puppet Theater - Darn libraries and placing the spine stickers in the worst possible places!
So I had no idea this was the second volume in a series...I didn't know it was a series at all. I hate reading series out of order! *sigh*
First, let me share my reaction on reading the title for the first time: " *hysterical laughter* Pinocchio Vampire Slayer...alas poor Jiminy...oops, we're in a library! *laughter cuts off quickly*"
Needless to say, I had to see what this was about. Normally, I can easily look away from train wreaks...but these literature/supernatural mash ups have become my train wreak. I love dichotomies and some of these fit that to a tee. I can't seem to help but check these out (see P&P and Zombies and S&S and Sea Monsters). So, what did I find?
Actually, I found a dark story with interesting characters and an engaging plot. Pinocchio has fallen into Vampire Slaying (I suppose this is explain in the first one, though explanations abound in this book as well) because it has become personal. We see characters we know (in the interest of full disclosure, I've never read the book, only seen the Disney movie - I know, it's on my list), as well as new ones such as a group of wooden puppets from a theater group who are similar to Pinocchio - moving on their own, personalities, etc. However, they've all changed, grown older and darker. Pinocchio is no longer a young puppet growing into a real boy; he's shouldered a man's burden and more and it shows. We also meet a young girl Carlotta, who has chased after our main character and seems to have feelings for him.
But what of the illustrations, as this is a graphic novel? They are black and white with all sharp angles, shadows, and yet at the same time, they are sumptuous. The details are lovely, each puppet is clearly recognizable with detailed wood grain as their skin (interestingly, Pinocchio doesn't have this, I'm assuming he's painted or something?), and the setting around them is often shown though there are also blank backgrounds to draw your eye to the action. It's almost cinematic at times and while there is slaying and death, as the Vampires burn when slain, you see a skeleton with fire around it; so real gore interestingly enough.
My main issue was there is no indication that this is part of a series except for a brief mention on the back that is easily glanced over (and lead me to believe this was the first volume until I imputed the book into Booklikes). I didn't know this was a series until the book ended...right in the middle of a rescue! Argh! Cliffhangers, how I hate thee! Now my only hope is my notorious library actually having the next volume - and the first one - ...but I'm not holding out too much hope.
Surprisingly serious and dark without gore, Pinocchio Vampire Slayer is not as...bizarre as you might think. While not something I'd normally read at all, I actually highly recommend this and hope the next one is as good as this one!