Book – Artful
Author – Peter David, Nicole D'Andria, Laura Neubert (Contributor)
Star rating - ★★★☆☆
Cover – Gorgeous!
Would I read it again – Yes!
Genre – Comic, Historical, Vampire
** COPY RECEIVED THROUGH NETGALLEY **
This was a wonderfully authentic take on the Artful Dodger storyline. It had the accents, the gritty feel, the backstory and the intrigue to be a great addition to the Oliver Twist story we all know and love, with some exciting new twists that fit surprisingly well. Historically, it was brilliantly accurate in both accent, feel and storytelling, keeping that old penny dreadful feel without going into the gore, which would have eliminated any YA lovers from reading it.
I loved that it took place after the events of Oliver Twist, giving us a timeline that fit into the familiarity of the old story while rooting us in the timeline of the new. I had a soft-horror feel to the illustrations that was brilliant, while maintaining an easily readable text, font and format of storytelling. The illustrations themselves were gorgeous. Perfect for the era and eye-catching, while perfectly illustrating what was happening within the story.
There was a lot of familiar stuff in here that we're not used to associating with Oliver Twist or the Artful Dodger, but I loved it. It felt right for the era, the story and made sense from the way it was told. We had a 'narrator' who wasn't really given a name until late in the story, but it was intriguing to watch it all unfold and figure it out as I went along.
The addition of vampires, Queen Victoria, Van Helsing, the Baker Street Irregulars, Bedlam, Spring-Heeled Jack and Jack the Ripper might have felt like overkill for another story, but the way they were seamlessly drawn into this story made so much sense that I never questioned having so many memorable and familiar characters in one story. They were all era-appropriate and explained cleverly, at the end, so much so that I only enjoyed the big reveal all the more for the surprise of it all.
The evolution of Fagin, the clever twist at the end, the cunning and yet vulnerable side of the Artful Dodger that we saw, along with the exploration of Drina's part in the story all came together to make a brilliantly pulled together original plot in a stunning wrapper.