Monday, October 5, 2015

Bookmonkey visits Hemlock Grove: Post Two

Generally if a film or television show has been adapted from a book, I'm likely to try and read the source material first, possibly because I love reading, or because I want to know where the story originally came from, or maybe I just like to feel like I'm more "in the know" than my friends and loved ones.

So, when I decided to spend the month looking at the Netflix series Hemlock Grove, you'd better believe I picked up the original novel and got reading.

The original novel is ok. I've read a lot of werewolf and other monster fiction over my life, so I can easily compare it to all sorts of things, considering it a slightly twisted version of Twilight, or even a little bit like the film The Lost Boys, in that the story goes to a lot of lengths to show how monstrous the creatures appear to humans, but that the monsters themselves are never really viewed as tragic, just scary.

The novel largely follows two young men, Roman Godfrey and Peter Rumancek, one of whom is a werewolf and the other is likely a vampire (although he doesn't seem to be aware of it). Much of the drama focuses on a string of brutal murders in the city/town of Hemlock Grove, and of the search for the killer.

For me the issue was a massive amount of pretty unnecessary side characters, and a number of side-plots that seemed to go nowhere and not amount to much. The story begins with a fairly clever writing device, in that the actual (and unnamed) killer is also our narrator, but once their identity is discovered, the book seems to drop the concept. Both leads go through a number of harrowing events and some of them are quite effective and disturbing, but in the end, if I were looking for a great werewolf novel* - this wouldn't be it.

Now onto the show!

*My favourite three would be Endore's Werewolf of Paris (1933), Brandner's The Howling (1986) and McCammon's The Wolf's Hour(1989)

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