My Boyfriend Bites
by Dan Jolley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My Boyfriend is a Monster 3: My Boyfriend Bites / 978-0761370789
I've been following this loosely connected series with interest, since I like the concept: a series of graphic novels about "monstrous" boyfriends, all written and illustrated by different people. I loved the first novel ("I Love Him To Pieces"; zombies), and was ambivalent about the second novel ("Made For Each Other"; Frankenstein's monster). Now we come to the third in the series and it's a story about vampires in New Mexico and a drop-dead sexy blond boyfriend, so how does this one compare?
"My Boyfriend Bites" reminds me of the second book in the series, in that it seems like the author was more interested in telling a monster story rather than in telling a story about a monster boyfriend. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, but it seems like we already have buckets of stories with monsters in plus the tacked-on addition of a supernatural romance. I expected this novel to be different and to have a little more exploration of what it would like to be in an actual relationship with a supernatural character; I was anticipating more of the *being* in a relationship over the *formation* of that relationship.
But moving past my slight disappointment with the subject matter, this is still a solid story well-told. Without wishing to spoil too much, this book contains all the elements of a fun vampire story: an army of frat-boy vampires, transformations into huge bat-winged humanoids, a Chosen One (who may or may not be destined to fight vampires for all eternity rather than going to college), gratuitous references to Abraham Van Helsing (who is rapidly becoming the Mitochondrial Eve of the genre), and armloads of garlic. The pacing and plotting are done admirably well, there's a lot of good foreshadowing at the beginning that pays off nicely at the end, and the sidekick character is endearing rather than annoying.
I can also highly praise the artwork on display here: I really love the art style, including the appreciation to detail and the realistic facial expressions. It's not often that I read a graphic novel where the characters' facial expressions are so consistently drawn that I can actually identify facial quirks over time, like Vanessa's tendency to pull her lips into her mouth when she's nervous or upset (a facial gesture that I demonstrate on occasion, myself).
The only thing that keeps me from giving five stars to this novel is that sometimes it felt like it was doing too much with too little. There's a *lot* of story-telling techniques here, like false memories and dream sequences and red herrings, but there's not a lot of romance or character building between our protagonist and her titular boyfriend. They obviously have chemistry when on screen together, but those moments are so few and far apart that it's hard to sustain the "boyfriend" angle of the story. Still, if you ignore the title page and just dive into the story, you'll almost certainly find a fun story to occupy your interest.
NOTE: This review is based on a free Advance Review Copy of this book provided through NetGalley.
~ Ana Mardoll