March 28, 2023

Review: The Night Eaters, Vol. 1: She Eats the Night

The Night Eaters, Vol. 1: She Eats the Night The Night Eaters, Vol. 1: She Eats the Night by Marjorie M. Liu
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I am a fan of Monstress, the long-running series by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda (in fact, I own all the graphic novels). That story is intricate and complicated--and very bleak and gory--with a great setting, worldbuilding and characters. So when I heard about this, I immediately requested it through my library. I almost bought it sight unseen, but fortunately I looked at the sample on Amazon and decided to get it through the library instead.

Most people don't like everything their favorite author/artist does, and that is the case here. There are some good things about this. Sana Takeda's art is instantly recognizable--I'd know it was her from viewing one panel. Unfortunately, the art here is simply not as good as Monstress. This is supposed to be a horror story, taking place in an abandoned haunted mansion in lots of dark corridors and shadows. Tana Sakeda's art is gorgeous, but it works better in settings where there's some light, you know? In a darker panel, it's hard to make out the details and little touches she uses so well. This art in this particular comic also seems to be....more muted and blurry, I guess are the right words? It doesn't bring the characters and world to such sharp life as in Monstress.

Story-wise, this is a contemporary story with demons and demon-hunters, and a woman and man from each faction who end up marrying and having children. Of course, this creates all sorts of problems down the line. The hapless twins of Keon and Ipo--the demon and demon hunter respectively--Milly and Billy, find out thirty years after the fact that they're not human. This first volume delves into Ipo and Keon's background and their children's discovery of who and what they are, but it doesn't go into their characters and reactions a great deal. Presumably that will happen in subsequent volumes. Unfortunately, Milly and Billy aren't very interesting as characters. Their parents are the more intriguing of the four, and they are given a bit of a short shrift in this story. I would rather have spent more time with Ipo, especially, than her sometimes flighty and clueless offspring.

There are hints of an interesting story here, about the secrets families can keep and how they come to light, and the troubled and difficult relationship between Ipo and her children. It really didn't grab me enough, at least in this volume, for me to continue.

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