Amanda has just gotten dumped by her fiance because he thinks her family is too crazy. She is understandably upset and just looking for a little normal in her life. Unfortunately, that is not in the cards. Stopping by her vampire hunter sister’s house, Amanda is suddenly knocked unconscious, kidnapped, and hand-cuffed to an amazingly attractive guy in black leather. He is Kyrian of Thrace, a man who traded his soul to fight soul-sucking Daimons (sort of like vampires mixed with Greek mythology). Things just get crazy from there.
Sherrilyn Kenyon is a best-selling author for a reason. Her romance novels have an fierce sexual tension, really good-looking men, and strong, cool-under-pressure women. The novel version of volume 1 of The Dark Hunters, called Night Pleasures, was a steamy, fun read. It was compelling and sexy enough for me to finish it in two days and I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, this graphic novel version lost a lot in translation.
Night Pleasures left me with a lot of questions, but was still overall pretty satisfying as a read. Kenyon presents a plot with a lot of holes and some very confusing supernatural aspects. For example, Kyrian calls himself a vampire, but was actually from ancient Greece and traded his soul for revenge. He can’t go out in the sun, but does not drink blood. Then there are the Daimons. They were made by Apollo to enslave the human race, but killed a woman Apollo loved, so he cursed them. They can only live until they reach the random age of 27 and then they have to take in human souls to survive or they will suffer an extremely slow and painful death. So Dark Hunters fight them. It only gets more confusing from there. Reading the novel, I managed to overlook a lot of my questions concerning Amanda’s very suddenly introduced magical powers (which increase and change seemingly with Kenyon’s whims) and how Greek mythology is combined with sci-fi/fantasy elements in very strange ways. The graphic novel, however, made these plot holes seem like canyons.
The adaptation also lost nearly all of the sexual tension that made the first book so compelling. There are a few times when Kyrian wonders to himself why he can’t stop thinking about Amanda and vice versa, but there were no searing glances and very little heat. The action (if you know what I mean) is much tamer in the graphic novel and the facial expressions in multiple instances look goofy, ruining the serious tone of the dialogue. In a few images the heads were too big for the bodies, Kyrian’s hair length changes, and there were multiple typos in a book with not that much text. Pages were cut off in a couple of places and the end product just seemed sloppily and hurriedly put together.
The art is styled similarly to manga, with sharp corners and large eyes. Claudia Campos’s illustrations are well-done in many places. However, the tone of the illustrations was too perky and goofy to capture the intensity of the novel. The mood undercut the seriousness of different moments throughout the plot. I felt nothing reading a scene describing Kyrian being tortured that had horrified me when reading the novel.
This book was very dependent on creating a mood filled with tension. The graphic novel just failed to create that same atmosphere and mood. It suffered from a lack of attention payed to the small details and just didn’t live up to the book version. Although, the manga version of Kyrian was pretty attractive.
The Dark Hunters, vol. 1
by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Art by Claudia Campos
St. Martin’s Griffin, 2009
Publisher Age Rating: Adult