Imagine waking up in a graveyard with no memory of your past life, nor any idea of how you came to be there. You don’t even remember your own name. It’s not clear whether you are alive or dead.That is the dilemma confronting Calexa Rose Dunhill in Cemetery Girl Part One: The Pretenders, a new graphic novel by Charlaine Harris, Christopher Golden and Don Kramer.
This is a book that fits neatly into the mainstream of current fantasy fiction. It’s a young adult (YA) title with a teenage heroine in a setting that merges reality and the supernatural. It has echoes of US TV series such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Teen Wolf and their many imitators.
At its heart, there is an intriguing mystery. We don’t know who the Cemetery Girl is, or what is pursuing her. The graveyard that becomes her home is haunted by confused and vengeful spirits whose motivations are unclear even to themselves. Although perhaps the most unreal aspect of the graphic novel is a cell phone that never runs out of juice…
Cemetery Girl is the first part of an ongoing series, but for me, too little is revealed by the end of this first volume. At its conclusion, we are still none the wiser about almost any of the events that are unfolding. That was a disappointment, since most readers would expect a greater pay-off in the first part of the story.
Cemetery Girl was a fun read, although I found the first set of villains somewhat unconvincing. Younger characters make for good heroes because of their naivety and exuberance. They very rarely make for compelling villains. Darkness comes with age and bitterness.
However, there are obviously malevolent powers at work in the background, so we may find in later volumes that the characters are merely controlled by some unseen puppet master, for reasons as yet unknown.