The Death of Sleep is a new graphic novel by Aleš Kot (writer) and Piotr Kowalski (artist), based on the acclaimed videogame Bloodborne developed by FromSoftware. It is set in the Gothic city of Yharnam, which suffers from an endemic plague that turns its citizens into horrific beasts. A nameless Hunter (powerful people tasked with slaying these beasts) seeks something called “Paleblood” in order to transcend the Hunt and escape the nightmare that plagues Yharnam. The Hunter encounters a strange child whose blood runs pale, and believing them to be the key to their transcendence embarks upon a journey to escape the city once and for all.Read More »
What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next?
I’m currently in the midst of House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. Last week I thought to myself “I can read this before the month is over.” I honestly don’t know what I was thinking. It’s the size a textbook and nearly 700-pages long, though goodness knows how long it’ll actually take me considering the formatting, which includes both walls of text and like 19 words to a page, depending. I am enjoying the book so far, though reading it feels more like a project than a leisurely experience. I find myself compelled by each new footnote that leads me down a different narrative passageway before I must double back. It’s a lot to take in, but uncovering the mystery is fun and I like the core premise a lot too.
Over the weekend I read Frankenstein by Junji Ito (check out my review here). The featured story was an excellent adaptation. While it is abridged by the medium, I was surprised with how closely he wrote the story to the original novel by Mary Shelley. It’s one of my favourite books, so it was more than welcome. If you’re familiar with the novel it is almost precisely that story, with a few unique twists and artistic flares to help it stand out on its own. The latter half of the book was a collection of stories about a 14-year-old boy named Oshikiri who lives alone in a massive house and frequently has supernatural experiences. I liked the connective narrative about other selves invading from parallel worlds, but as a collection it was a bit too disjointed for me at times.
While I think it’s unlikely I can finish off October with a House of Leaves review, I am excited to read Bloodborne: The Death of Sleep by Aleš Kot and Piotr Kowalski. It is a new graphic novel based on the video game of the same name. I played through it over the course of the summer and loved the Gothic imagery and cosmic horrors. Seems a perfect Halloween read to me. Hopefully it will confirm some of my wild speculations about the lore of the game too, as well as shed some light on any unknowns.
Video games are a frequent hobby of mine but something I talk about very infrequently on this blog, especially over the last couple of years. Nevertheless, every once in a while I play a game that really grabs me with its story. Not simply in how well it tells this story, but the ways the story is integrated with the video game medium itself.
In Bloodborne, developed by From Software, you play as a foreigner who has come to Yharnam, a labyrinthine city of Gothic/Victorian architecture, seeking the miraculous blood healing of their Healing Church to cure an unspecified malady. Your character also seeks something known as “paleblood,” though what this is isn’t explained. Upon signing a contract and receiving a transfusion of strange blood your character becomes a Hunter—people made exceptional by “blood ministration.” When you awaken after the transfusion you are alone at dusk on the night of a hunt, when Hunters and citizens alike take to the streets to hunt the Beasts that plague Yharnam. You have no choice. A Hunter must hunt.