I recently had the pleasure of reading Starblood, a graphic novel written by British author Carmilla Voiez and illustrated by Anna Prashkovich. Starblood is a fascinating modern gothic horror fantasy, replete with a secular mystique, all brimming with a feminine perspective.
Starblood (graphic novel) is based on the Starblood Trilogy written by Ms. Voiez, whose titles are Starblood, Psychonaut, and Black Sun. The graphic novel is volume one of this trilogy.
The story of Starblood, as I mentioned at the beginning, is a modern Gothic tale of urban fantasy, with keen expositions into the practices of ancient magic and demon summoning. Satori is a young man, much in the same archetypical format with many of us can relate in that pivotal transition to manhood, but Satori has a gift that separates him from the mundane – his gift of magic. Satori uses his power to summon the demon Lilith, but once summoned, Lilith cannot be contained, and she withdraws from Satori to roam the mortal plain according to her own whim. Sensing the danger of this situation, Satori seeks the aid of his friend, Paul (also a fellow practitioner of ancient magic) in an attempt to find a way to banish Lilith back to her realm. Accompanying Satori is his girlfriend, Star.
As with any good Gothic tale, romance is involved – and Ms. Voiez is never afraid to explore the many facets of what love and affection are. Bitter and fueled with an unrelenting sense of vengeance, Lilith finds Star, and once the seduction begins, Satori sets out to find Star, all while knowing he must face the demon Lilith.
Voiez has crafted a fully-realized world – a darkened reflection of the undercurrents in our modern society, while deftly weaving the subtle intricacies of her own rules of the supernatural, and the darkened, seemingly intentionally-subdued illustrations of Anna Prashkovich give this darkened image of the world a chilled breath of life. The mysticism employed in the story use familiar iconography – to those who are acquainted with such studies – yet anyone can read the story and not feel as if they are “left out” of any prerequisite knowledge.
I say “anyone can read” the story, but Starblood is absolutely for a mature audience. Strong sexual content and violence permeate the story; not in any sordid attempt at debasement – rather, it reads as a celebration of personal liberation. Starblood is a tapestry of traditional moralistic antipathy, resounding with feminine discovery and ambition for realization.
The feminine aspects of the author do not go unnoticed in this work, and Voiez’s work is unabashedly told in the feminist narrative; unashamed of her sexuality or fervor, and the writing shows. Starblood is daring and unapologetic in its presentation of the female exuberance and a quest for destruction of the archetype. Voiez’s style is unique and unapologetic, yet as masterfully designed and poignant as Clive Barker, and Starblood is an exaltation of feminine empowerment, woven deftly into a modern tale of magic, romance, and tragedy.