Title: Bloodlust & Bonnets
Author: Emily McGovern
Release Date: 17th Sept 2019
I received a free eARC copy from Andrews McMeel Publishing, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
From the creator of the hit webcomic My Life As a Background Slytherin comes a hilarious graphic novel pastiche of classic Romantic literature led by a trio of queer misfits—and several angry vampires.
Set in early nineteenth-century Britain, Bloodlust & Bonnets follows Lucy, an unworldly debutante who desires a life of passion and intrigue—qualities which earn her the attention of Lady Violet Travesty, the leader of a local vampire cult.
But before Lucy can embark on her new life of vampiric debauchery, she finds herself unexpectedly thrown together with the flamboyant poet Lord Byron (“from books!”) and a mysterious bounty-hunter named Sham. The unlikely trio lie, flirt, fight, and manipulate each other as they make their way across Britain, disrupting society balls, slaying vampires, and making every effort not to betray their feelings to each other as their personal and romantic lives become increasingly entangled.
Both witty and slapstick, elegant and gory, Emily McGovern’s debut graphic novel pays tribute to and pokes fun at beloved romance tropes, delivering a joyous, action-packed world of friendship and adventure.
I am a huge fan of McGovern’s My Life as a Background Slytherin so when it was announced that she was producing a full length graphic novel I jumped at the chance to get to review it. For those familiar with her sense of humour from the web comic, they will be very happy that this tale is jam packed with the same out of the box thinking, witty repartee and slapstick fun. It takes the same pace as the web comics providing a basic plot and then watching as the characters, in their slight ineptitude ride off in a totally different direction. This makes it fun and unpredictable
Some knowledge of Byron and Walter Scott is advantageous to get some of the quips but there is plenty in there were those that are not familiar with the setting would still find this a fun romp of a regency vampire adventure.
It is filled to the brim with funny side characters, a rather incompetent magical talking castle, and duel fighting giant eagle named napoleon that seemed to reflect the very English view of a stereotypical Frenchmen’s air or “pfft” when it came to moments of danger. His cutaways were particularly funny. Then there is BeBe, a lady of unfathomable wealth who may or may not be bumping off her husbands, in a series of unfortunate accidents. I will state I didn’t not read this in one sitting but split the chapters over a few days therefore when the running jokes cropped up they were fun a nice call back. I could see why others who sit down to read the book as a whole may not appreciate all the callbacks, with potential for them to get old.
We also have some queer rep. We have Sham the Vampire hunter who is presented as non-binary, while uses her/she pronouns they present somewhat masculine in Byron’s view and do not answer his questioning on the subject. Lucy is on the page bisexual which is fantastic and well Byron is Byron.
Overall I enjoyed this graphic novel. I adore the art style, the use of colour all add to the farce, slapstick and wordplay that McGovern does so well.