Published: January 2nd 2014 by Jo Fletcher Books
Format: Hardcover, 128 pages
Genres: Comics & Graphic Novels, Horror
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Calexa Rose Dunhill was just fourteen when she woke in a cemetery. Bruised, bloody and left for dead, with no memory of her previous life, she took a new name from the headstones that surrounded her.
Now, three years on, Calexa still lives in Dunhill Cemetery, struggling with the desire to know her true identity – and the all-consuming fear of what she might discover when she does.
Then, when she witnesses a gang of teenagers staging a stunt that goes horribly, fatally wrong, Calexa Rose Dunhill discovers she has a unique ability. One she cannot control…
The Pretenders is the first graphic novel in a series, which follows a girl who wakes up a cemetery, with no memory of who she is. All she knows is that she was left for dead, and that she’s probably better off pretending to be dead and living in the cemetery.
Firstly, the artwork in this graphic novel is gorgeous! When I first flipped through it, I was a bit wary of the colour palette (predominantly blue, mixed with oranges and browns!), but I found that it works with the story. I love the artwork, and I was surprised at how detailed everything is. All the expressions on the character’s faces are vivid, and the images capture the atmosphere of the cemetery excellently.
I think the world-building could have been improved, and the premise is a little flimsy. I scoffed when I realised that Calexa lives in the cemetery for a few months, but then it was revealed that she was actually spending a lot of time with a nice old lady and stealing from the groundskeeper, so it made more sense. I AM a bit concerned about where she went to the bathroom though …
The story could have done with a bit of work – Charlaine Harris is hardly known for complex plot-lines, but it doesn’t feel like her protagonist undergoes any growth at all! She just has very random memories, which gave her almost no clues to who she was. I would have liked to get more of an insight into her past, but I guess that’s what the rest of the series will be for!
I think The Pretenders is a good introduction to a promising story. The main character could do with a bit of work, and the plot definitely needs tightening up, but it’s intriguing and presented gorgeously. I think that fans of the Sookie Stackhouse novels will enjoy this new series of graphic novels, and I urge those who enjoy supernatural stories to check them out!