It has felt like centuries, but new Carmilla content is finally here! For those of you at ClexaCon this year you might have been able to pick up an early copy of the novel either from the Carmilla booth or from some of the Carmilla themed panels and meet ups. I was able to snag a copy from the booth and it took all kinds of restraint not to rush off to my room and read the book while I was still in Las Vegas. Once I got back to my small Ohio town I hunkered down and read the entire book in one go, which shows how much my restraint wavered once I had any free time.
Carmilla by Kim Turrisi is an adaptation of the first season of the web series. While I am sure a number of fans were hoping this would be set after the movie by setting up the world of Carmilla in book series this way it will allow for new fans to become involved and could possibly lead to more books in the future adapting the later seasons, movie, and eventually creating new content. As I am not involved in the process I can’t say if that is officially the plan, but is my hope based on the focus of this book. For seasoned Creampuffs we are reintroduced to the young and intrepid freshman investigator Laura Hollis as she tries to learn what happened to her missing roommate Betty, while also trying to cope with her new sarcastic and food stealing roommate Carmilla. We get to see moments from the series slightly reworked, there are a few more curse words and some moments have added lines or bits of dialogue, as well as scenes that took place off camera. This means the town hall is finally revealed as well as the faculty club and library scenes that placed LaFontaine and Laura in some pretty intense moments of peril.
Another element of the story that is expanded on is LaFontaine’s coming out story. In the book they are introduced as genderqueer and are referred to by she/her pronouns, but in a scene with Laura and Perry they insist that they will only respond to they/them pronouns and don’t want to Perry to call them Susan anymore. I will admit the scene feels a bit rushed, but it does fit with what we saw on camera during the original web series. I am curious if going forward if the term non-binary will be used as the word was not used in this specific book. When LaF is introduced Laura refers to them as genderqueer and no additional terminology is introduced. One of the moments I was tremendously excited about was the look into Laura’s life before Silas. She mentions her dad in a bit more detail and beyond that she also discusses former romances and a friend or two. What I did not need is the knowledge that she eats Pop Tarts broken up in coffee like a very odd sort of cereal. This just sounds uncomfortably gross, but I suppose to each their own.
I do want to mention that because the version I read was an advanced reader copy, which often means additional editing is planned, there were a handful of issues I noticed. The more glaring was that in the final chapter of the book LaFontaine is referred to by she/her pronouns even though they have come out to Laura and Perry as only using they/them pronouns. The other typo that stood out was that Laura refers to Betty has doing a complete 360, which is a very common grammatical mistake. Since Betty went from studious to a party girl she made a 180 change, but again this one is colloquially used incorrectly. Overall I really enjoyed reading Turrisi’s adaptation of the first season and I enjoyed being able to actually experience what happened off camera. I also enjoyed the little additions of a ghostly visitor opening the door and rearranging the mini-fridge magnets. If you are trying to introduce the series to new Creampuffs this could be a good stepping stone for getting them to check it out online and for those of us who have been looking forward to new content this adds new elements to a story we already love. You can order your copy of Carmilla today.