The Legend of Dollaretta, by Cherry Gunzenhauser

218 pages

Published on August 10, 2017 through Amazon

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The 17-year-old (vampire) Demi Chevalier is angry, fed-up and socially indifferent, yet she has accepted that Elizabeth Rose Convent will be her home for the next two years. She anticipates many hindrances, but does not expect her curiosity to be so deeply ignited by what she is told of the Convent’s infamous legend of Dollaretta.

According to the legend, those who speak of Dollaretta will find themselves fated to peril, and incidentally, the first student to tell Demi about the legend, finds herself in a grave situation. Demi refuses to acknowledge the strange coincidence, although there is a part of her that begins to feel a deep-rooted sense of paranoia. For the next few weeks Demi experiences vivid nightmares about the legend then as if to test her better judgement, she is confronted by a student who is convinced that the legend is real. Despite the eerie and suggestive nature of Demi’s nightmares, she tries to tell herself that paranoia is to be expected under the given circumstances.

Gothic? Check. Vampires? Check. Graphic novel? Check. The concept of The Legend of Dollaretta caught my imagination, and I really wanted to love it, but unfortunately, it kind of misses the mark for me.

The main issue is that the artwork just didn’t captivate me. All the characters look extremely similar – the same faces sporting slightly different hairstyles – and that made it difficult to differentiate them. The backgrounds are also rather plain, which doesn’t do the setting any favors. Take a look:

The writing wasn’t enough to carry the novel either. Between the occasional misspelling (‘heredatory’ for ‘hereditary’) and some awkward phrasing (‘a journey of paranormal complexions’), I just wasn’t hooked.

The premise was super intriguing, and I’d love to see Dollaretta reworked with stronger storytelling and a more diverse-looking cast.