Book Review: Beautiful Darkness (Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoёt)
Release Date: 25th February 2014
My boyfriend bought this home from our favourite comic book shop in Nottingham (Page 45, check it out) with orders to read it immediately and strict instructions not to flick through (apparently that spoils it).
It started beautifully, almost twee in fact, as Aurora entertains the Prince at her house but this quickly dissolves as something drips from the ceiling and seems to consume them completely. But they survive and find themselves starting life anew. After this, the story got a little confusing sometimes, as it jumps quickly between characters. This took a some getting used to, but I soon found it wasn’t always telling a linear story: more like snippets of events.
And what horrible snippets they can be sometimes! There are some very disturbing images in this book, so I definitely wouldn’t recommend it for younger readers. That’s where the beauty in the book lies: cute, almost cartoonish characters drawn next to shocking scenes of violence and gore.
I’ve had some debates with my partner over what this is about, but it screams to me of a Lord of the Flies type story: ultimately, man is evil and, whatever order we try to keep in nature soon turns to chaos. We see this when Princess Aurora throws a party for their new woodland neighbours, and is upset when they have no table manners, snatch food and piss on the table.
I expected a little more resolution or climax at the end. I think it could take a few more reads of this to fully understand it. But overall I’d recommend this to read if you’re a fan of Alice in Wonderland or Lord of the Flies type stories, and have a strong stomach for gore and the downright disturbing!