Author: Kristen Renee Gorlitz
Illustrator: Eli Powell
Derrick, a passionate chef, comes home to celebrate a milestone with his wife Helen, only to discover that she’s been cheating on him. This sets in motion a downward spiral of chaotic events, accelerated by an epidemic in Michigan that causes people to eat themselves. And a member of their household may be next.
The main characters, Derrick and Helen, are flawed, but believable. They seem like people that could exist in real life, and honestly, I think I’ve seen glimpses of each character in actual people before. All the characters are interesting and detailed; they have their own unique traits and quirks, just like real people do. And although I didn’t always agree with the choices those characters made, I felt I could somewhat understand them.
For instance, would I ever try swallowing a key? Absolutely not. But, I understand that love can make us do ridiculous, stupid things, and I get that Derrick was desperate. I know this is easily something a person could do, under the right circumstances.
Moreover, The Empties perfectly captures many of the complexities and potential issues of a romantic relationship. Both Derrick and Helen have certain aspects they are and aren’t satisfied with. Helen feels as if she’s often alone, despite being in a relationship with Derrick. And he doesn’t really see any problems.
Even though there are several issues with this partnership, you can tell both characters are still invested to some degree. Clearly, they care about one another, but want different things out of life. I could see and understand things from each perspective.
Additionally, the story is fascinating and kept me wholly engrossed throughout. It moves fairly fast, but has a lot of poignancy to it. Despite being set amidst a zombie-like outbreak, the main focus is Derrick and Helen’s relationship. These two struggle to maintain it among betrayal, infidelity, dissatisfaction, and a monstrous transformation. This makes the story very distinct, with a very human quality to it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading its progression.
The Empties is a graphic novel, so of course, it has plenty of art to go with it. And wow, that art is just incredible. As I read through, there were so many pages I had to stop and admire for a few minutes. The art style is monochromatic and has quite a bit of shading to it, which suits the story well. Really, it just complements the story and its tone perfectly.
Furthermore, the art carries a lot of weight with it. The various expressions and poses help to reinforce and show the mood of different scenes. In turn, this helps to provide the reader with the story’s utmost impact.
Overall, The Empties is an intriguing, immersive story that perfectly captures the horror and poignancy of real life relationships. This story is conveyed through unique characters that are flawed, but realistic and understandable. To top it all off, the art is beautiful and suits the atmosphere well. The Empties is an amazing graphic novel that readers will easily and gladly devour. I truly can’t recommend it enough.
5 / 5 Stars
The author, Kristen Renee Gorlitz, was incredibly kind and offered a free digital copy of the first issue of The Empties for my readers. I’m so excited that you can all experience a piece of this fantastic story, too! Big, big thanks to Kristen for making this possible! I truly appreciate it. Click the link below to claim your free copy!
Kristen Renee Gorlitz will also be hosting a Kickstarter for The Empties graphic novel soon. It starts on February 18, just several days from now! So, if you’d like to keep up with the Kickstarter and similar news, click the link below and follow Kristen!
I received a copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. All opinions are my own.