Review: Carmilla by Kim Turrisi

10:14 PM

Buckle up,Creampuff

An adaptation of Shaftesbury's award-winning, groundbreaking queer vampire web series of the same name, Carmilla mixes the camp of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the snark of Veronica Mars, and the mysterious atmosphere of Welcome to Nightvale

Newly escaped from the stifling boredom of a small town, college freshman Laura is ready to make the most of her first year at Silas University. But when her roommate, Betty, vanishes and a sarcastic, nocturnal philosophy student named Carmilla moves into Betty's side of the room, Laura decides to play detective. Turns out Betty isn't the first girl to go missing ? she's just the first girl not to come back. 

All over campus, girls have been vanishing, and they are completely changed when (or if) they return. 

Even more disturbing are the strange dreams they recount: smothering darkness, and a strange pale figure haunting their rooms. Dreams that Laura is starting to have herself. As Laura closes in on the answers, tensions rise with Carmilla. Is this just a roommate relationship that isn't working out, or does Carmilla know more than she's letting on about the disappearances? What will Laura do if it turns out her roommate isn't just selfish and insensitive, but completely inhuman? 

And what will she do with the feelings she's starting to have for Carmilla?

MY RATING: ★★☆☆ (2.5-3)

I was sent an eARC of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. This does not change my view in any shape or form.

One of the first web series that I ever watched was Carmilla, so I was beyond excited to see that there was an upcoming novelization of the web series. Not to be confused with the original story that both are based upon. As far as novelizations go, Carmilla was every bit as intriguing as the original series it is based on and fans are going to certainly enjoy it. 

This new novelization, too, will absolutely bring a new audience to the original series as well. Which is a massive plus. 

While I did enjoy this novel, it did feel, at times, a bit unnecessary. It adds very little to the original episodes. In reality, this could have done more to flesh out the story a bit more. Unfortunately, it did not do that. This isn't to say Carmilla is badly written or paced--it's entertaining as always--but it felt, at times, a little choppier on page than it does on screen. 

At the end of the day, one of the things that made Carmilla fall short in expectations was the length. I expected a little something more, a little something more descriptive and as atmospheric as the web series. In the process of translating it from screen to page, Carmilla loses a lot of its charm and just doesn't fit well with the narrative that was set up. 

There were points in the story that were stronger than others but I think that is merely because I was able to look back on the web series and see it play out in my head in a very specific way--one that just wasn't aptly explored in the novelization. 

In short, Carmilla could have benefited beautifully from the kind of development that books allow. I do think that Turrisi had the right idea, and had a particular kick to her portrayal of these characters, but in the end, the shortness of this novel was its biggest enemy. 

Still, there were some good things to note about Carmilla, including the obvious representation. Queer girls who kick-ass? Sign me up. I don't think that the novelization is nearly as indulgent and fun as the web series, but I do think that it will find its audience--which is all that matters.

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