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Friday, January 20, 2023

Carmilla: The First Vampire by Amy Chu & Soo Lee

Book #13

Carmilla: The First Vampire Carmilla: The First Vampire by Amy Chu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A modern retelling of the Gothic novella Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu, a vampire story that predates Bram Stoker's Dracula by 26 years, Amy Chu and Soo Lee's Carmilla: The First Vampire brings the story into 20th century NYC, and layers in aspects of Chinese myth and folklore. I have not read Carmilla, so I cannot comment on the faithfulness of this story to the original, but I did enjoy this for what it is: a queer murder mystery that is folded into a dark horror tale that is folded into a Sapphic love story.

Social worker Athena takes it on herself to investigate a series of murders of LGBTQ+ women, all occurring around the Chinatown nightclub Carmilla's. When she befriends the next likely victim of the killer, she finds herself not only falling for the mysterious Violet, but also finds that she's more tied to the mysterious Carmilla than she could ever believe.

Ending on something of a cliffhanger, I'll definitely be picking up the next installment. Amy Chu's writing is solid, and Soo Lee's art is perfectly dark and atmospheric. I found I enjoyed this a little more than I thought I would, to be honest, and it's piqued my interest in reading the original Carmilla to see how they compare. Recommended!

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