I'm actually reviewing the hardcover that I received for review from NetGalley (thank you!). This is the 128-page hardcover edition that is coming out on July 4th, 2012. This is the correct ISBN for the hardcover, URLs are listed for the individual comics on the Dark Horse website but I don't want to touch any entries in GR (I'm shy that way).
This is the first graphic novel I'm doing a review for. I love graphic novels and their concept. I've been a comics fan since I was in high school and my uncle introduced me to Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters. One of my favorite movies is a little known gem called Unbreakable. The movie takes the concept of comic book heroes to the next level and almost each frame of the film is shot to look just like a frame from a comic book. It's really an amazing movie. Yep, I just totally geeked out on all y'all. But I really don't know all that much about the comics world, just enough to cause minimal damage.
I'm doing my review of House of Night (and all graphic novels) a little differently than a regular novel. I think you need to consider the artwork separately from the storyline and then look back and see if the artwork either enhanced or detracted from the story. Hence, my three part rating scale at the top.
Being new to the House of Night series by PC and Kristin Cast, I have no preconceived notions of what Zoey or any of the other characters are supposed to look like. But from the characterizations in the storyline of this graphic novel (Zoey is American Indian), I think the artist nailed the characters.
Overall I love the artwork and it's exactly what a comic should look like. Exaggerated hips and boobs, strikings poses, over the top emotions. And subjectively, I like the artist's style. The only thing negative I could say was that I wasn't a fan of switching back and forth between the cover artist and the story artist. But I understand wanting to incorporate the individual covers for each story into this collection of the five stories. I would have preferred one artist for consistency. But it never detracted from the story. The artwork held up the story.
I couldn't figure out who the target audience for the stories were, though. The publisher's website said 14 years. The idea of having Zoey learn lessons on being the leader of the Dark Daughters through stories from the history of the House of Night seemed a perfect set up for a young adult graphic novel. But a couple of the history lessons themselves were, in my opinion, inappropriate for the younger reader. One lesson had a gruesome story that included the torture of sisters. The torture was so horrific and then glossed over, I was kind of like, "huh?" Kind of too heavy to just leave for a short story in a graphic novel. Another lesson had a part in it that had a married warrior "savoring a vampiress' company" for a year until it was time to leave (I'm completely paraphrasing here). From the pictures, you got the gist of the situation, though. Not exactly the ideal lessons to teach a young reader, I don't think, without at least more context to it.
Overall, I gave this graphic novel a 3 out of 5 because I think the artwork and most of Zoey's "lessons" were worth the read.