23rd Sep2019

‘Bloodlust & Bonnets’ Graphic Novel Review

by Chris Cummings

Created by Emily McGovern | Published by Simon & Schuster | Format: Paperback, 280pp


I know of Emily McGovern from her web-comic series, My Life as a Background Slytherin, a funny and witty series of short comic strips that parody Harry Potter in the nicest and most fan-friendly manner, that have become pretty damn popular. When I saw that she was releasing Bloodlust & Bonnets, a graphic novel set in nineteenth-century Britain that plays on the cliches of romantic literature from history, I was curious and excited to check it out.

We meet Lucy, a debutant who is in need of excitement and passion, romance and adventure, oh and she hunts down the fanged creatures of the night too, so she is hired by Lord Byron, an arrogant and self-indulgent man, a spot-on recreation of the male characters from those romance novels we all know and… erm… know. Joining them is Sham, a vampire-hunter who is a mysterious-type. The three of them embark on an adventure full of vampire killing, it’s full of chaos and silliness, and it’s bloody good fun.

There’s lots of British humour to be found in Bloodlust & Bonnets, the characters are whimsically charming and it’s a top notch graphic novel in the LGBTQ+ comics genre. There’s flirtation and deceit and fisty-cuffs, there’s gore and weirdness and lots of satire. It’s a cute and inoffensive nudge at the ridiculous and corny nature of romance novels and the tropes they contain. A story of friendship and vampires, you’d be hard-pressed to not have a joyful time with this. It’s a quick read too. I read it in an hour with a cup of Earl Grey. The artwork isn’t dissimilar to My Life as a Background Slytherin and I think it works nicely. It’s simplistic in its own way, but also uniquely its own thing. I think McGovern has a style that really is given light and life with themes like this, themes she can play with and poke fun at a little.

Considering this is McGovern’s first graphic novel, I’d say she hit it out of the park. It’s really fun, quite peculiar at times, and never stops being entertaining. The setting, the characters and the adventure they go on all create this tapestry of bloodshed and romance. If you know about your Jane Austen’s and Charlotte Bronte’s but enjoy a splash of comical humour and a dollop of pure fantastical adventure, then you’ll eat this up. It’s a bleedin’ hoot.

**** 4/5

Bloodlust & Bonnets is out now from Simon & Schuster.


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