The Starving Bibliophile

Books before food (and any sort of comfortable life).

Coffin Hill Vol. 1: Graphic Novel Review

Coffin Hill Vol 1Name: Coffin Hill Vol. 1: Forest of the Night
Series: Coffin Hill
Author: Caitlin Kittredge
Illustrator: Iñaki Miranda
Pages: 168
Published: May 20th, 2014
Publisher: Vertigo
Format: Paperback
Rating: 2/5 stars

Summary: Following a night of sex, drugs and witchcraft in the woods, Eve Coffin wakes up naked, covered in blood and unable to remember how she got there. One friend is missing, one is in a mental ward-and one knows that Eve is responsible. Years later, Eve returns to Coffin Hill, only to discover the darkness that she unleashed ten years ago in the woods was never contained. It continues to seep through the town, cursing the soul of this sleepy Massachusetts hollow, spilling secrets and enacting its revenge. Set against the haunted backdrop of New England, Coffin Hill explores what people will do for power and retribution.

I received this book free through a Goodreads giveaway. All opinions are my own.

I can admit that I was very excited about this book. I like dark and creepy comic books, so my opinion was probably tainted to begin with. I did not love this book. I did not hate it. I did, however, enjoy what it had to offer and then completely forgot about it, hence why it took me a week to write this review. You can find my Goodreads review here.

Positives:
Story— The story was interesting. The plot was the basic, slightly overused, girl and friends do something bad as teenagers and it comes back to haunt them when they’re older. And it just so happens that the bad shit they did was a spell to raise something evil. I’m a big fan of witches, so I loved the magical element to this book. The fact that the main character, Eve Coffin, was an actually witch, not just a kid trying to play with magic, was really intriguing. Unfortunately, none of the characters, not even Eve, were all that interesting. They were all very one-note, which took away from the story. I felt like the author tried to give depth to them and just couldn’t manage to make it work. Ah, such a cliché—a perfectly good story being screwed up by someone who doesn’t know how to write it.

Background— I really liked the fact that a lot of background information was given on the story. You learned a lot about the characters’ pasts, but the sequencing could have been better. Like most of this book, it wasn’t bad but it could have been done in a way that was more coherent. Every now and then there’d be a random flash back about the characters’ pasts and although most were relevant, almost none were placed where they should have been. The past was more interesting than the present, so it was a shame.

Negatives:
Writing— You would think that a successful young adult author would know how to, well, write. But such is not the case. The writing in this book is very juvenile and unpolished. It makes me wonder if an editor even had the chance to take a glance at it before it was sent off to the press. There’s not really too much to say on this. The writing was unrefined, but it wasn’t downright horrendous.

Pace— The pace of this book is ridiculously fast. You don’t even have time to absorb what happened on one page before something else is thrown at you. It’s very chaotic. It’s as if they wanted to get each issue over with as quickly as possible so they could head on to the next so they could put out this book. I like comic books and manga to be fast paced because of the fact that they’re quick reads, but a book should never be so fast-paced that it’s hard for the reader to keep up.

Artwork— I’m not picky when it comes to artwork. I didn’t really think that the artwork in this book was bad. But, I do understand that when it comes to comic books, this artwork is considered sub-par. The detail was very minimum and there wasn’t that much complexity about it. It was very basic and bare. Now, this could be attributed to the fact that it’s all in color. But I really doubt it. Personally, I wasn’t bothered by the fact that the artwork was lacking, but if you go into a comic book for the artwork, I would not recommend this book. I’ve already read tons of reviews where hardcore comic book lovers were extremely disappointed in this book, sometimes just for the artwork alone. If you don’t think you can handle artwork that’s not detailed or beautiful, then stay far, far away from this book.

Overall Impression: This book was lacking in all areas, some more than others, but still lacking nonetheless. There was nothing special or unique about this book, nor was there anything particularly memorable. It was as sub-par as sub-par can get without actually being bad. It satisfied my need for a dark and disturbing comic book when I was bored, but only just barely.

 

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