review: ‘Hemlock Grove: Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire’ by Brian McGreevy & Matt Buck

4 stars

Damn. Is that not one hell of a long title for a 32 page ebook? Also, don’t ask me what it means. I’ve read this, and I still couldn’t tell ya.

This is a short graphic novel that acts as a prelude to the events in the book ‘Hemlock Grove’ by Brian McGreevy, and the tv show of the same name (which is rad af by the way, check that out on Netflix asap). I actually enjoy the tv show a lot more than I enjoyed the novel, and mainly just wanted to check this little novella out because Season 3 should be coming back soon, and I was starting to get itchy for Roman Godfrey (played by none other than Bill Skarsgård – do you need any more reason to check out this show than that?)

I can’t really say much about this graphic novel, without first giving you some background on the novel that it’s a prequel to. Hemlock Grove is the name of the town in this modern day paranormal, a kind of reinvention of classic gothic literature. Whether it actually achieves this vibe is debatable, but if you enjoy vampires and werewolves and a bit of gore then its still a decent read. The Godfrey’s are one hell of a family, they pretty much own the town. The town itself is dominated by a huge skyscraper, the Godfrey institute, where a whole load of suspect scientific research is conducted by its bunch of weird doctors, led by the very alluring and mysterious Olivia Godrey. The very gory murder of a local girl brings together Roman Godrey, heir to the Godfrey estate after his father committed suicide, and Peter Romancek, a gypsy who has recently moved to the area with his mother, who kind of befriend each other and seek to get to the bottom of the murder. There’s a whole lot more to it than that though. Of course the characters aren’t as human as they initially seem, and the story is full of all kinds of sinfully, sexy, bloody goodness. At least, that’s what I remember of the novel. Did I mention how much I love the show?

So, as I am a fan of this world and the characters in general, I enjoyed this graphic novella. It takes a look at the time where JR Godfrey builds his empire, meets the mysterious Olivia, has a couple strange children with her (Roman and his sister Shelley), and helps you visualize his inner thoughts and what leads him to eventually committing suicide. I really liked the artwork style – all black and white, naturally rough, unrefined, but detailed sketches – which is in keeping with the feel of this world and JR’s instability. The dialogue also, was in keeping with the dialogue in the novel aswell. Although duh, it’s written by the same person, so I can’t see it straying too far.

I honestly think it was just the right length to be able to add to the backstory that I already knew the basics of, anything more plot wise would have just started to overlap with the events of Hemlock Grove. Although if there was a graphic novelisation of that whole book, hells yes, I would snap that up no question. I only gave it 4 stars though because it didn’t really tell me anything new that hasn’t been alluded to in the novel, it was just explored further, in a more visual way – obviously. I’d recommend it for fans of the show for sure, it should help tide you over for the series. If you’re completely knew to this world though, read the book or watch the show before snapping this up!

Thanks for reading!

sign off heartJess


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