Graphic Novel Review | Bloody Chester by JT Petty
I received this book for free from the mentioned source in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.
Bloody Chester by J.T. Petty
Illustrator: Hilary Florido
Series: The Third Horseman
Published by: First Second on July 3rd 2012
Genres: Adult, 18+, Historical, Comics & Graphic Novels, Graphic Novel
View on: Goodreads
Grab it: Buy on Amazon
About the Book:
A deliciously gruesome horror tale set in the old west.
This isn't John Wayne's heroic old west.
This is the real deal: a filthy, disease-ridden frontier populated by losers, lunatics, and murderers. And when you're a skinny teenager with no family and a name like Chester Kates, your options are limited. It's stand up and fight or roll over and die, so Chester, aka "Lady Kate," is set to fight until it kills him.
It isn't much of a life, but it's at least straightforward.
Until things go all cockeyed when Chester is hired to ride his horse (also named Chester) to a ghost town and burn it to the ground. Except the ghost town doesn't just boast a tidy collection of mangled corpses: it also has three living inhabitants . . . who won't be budged. But Chester's been hired for a job, and he'll be damned if he doesn't burn the town to the last cinder.
Thing is, he may just be damned if he does.
This horror-Western-mystery graphic novel will send a thrill—and a chill—down your spine. Funny, fascinating, and downright horrible, this is a book that keeps you turning the pages.
This review is going to be atypical from any review I have previously written. I am going to do 2 quick rundown reviews of this book because it definitely sparked something in me I can’t release until everyone hears it. One review will be from a parent’s perspective and the other as an adult reader. I hope this helps someone make an informed decision about the types of books we let our children read and the types of books we read as adults.
Well, it’s rare that I write a negative review. I’m not even sure this review is entirely negative, maybe it’s a tad bit cynical, but I feel it has to be said. Bloody Chester is one of those graphic novels you get completely excited for and then, all of a sudden it takes a turn you don’t expect, leaving your mouth half open in a “WTF” expression. Yes, that happened to me at one point in Bloody Chester. I literally had to stop, and reread the same passage ten times to make sure I read it right. Want to know what I’m talking about?
Here take a look (warning graphic language below):
From Page 20: “The problem is, you want to build a train, you gotta rustle a whole herd of NIG*ERS, CHINAMEN, and IRISH. Any one of them animals you can work till they die.”
Maybe I am being a little sensitive. Maybe I should take it in the context that it was written, I mean the story does take place during the “old west”. However, given the fact this book is suggested to be RECOMMENDED for TEENS ages 14-18 (aka young adults), I find this type of language UNACCEPTABLE! And this is not the only thing I found disturbing about Bloody Chester. It’s riddled with strong (and by that I mean the “F” word and other various curse words) in just about every other frame. Even “GodD#$%” is in there. How can a graphic novel, or any book for that matter, be considered young adult with that much cursing? Clearly this book should be labeled as Adult by Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and the Book Depository. Just because there is no sexual content does not mean it’s not an Adult book. I would never, let my fifteen year old sister read this book. Even though I consider her to be mature for her age, I do draw the line on some things and this happens to be one of them. We grew up in a small, predominately white southern town and this type of language is nothing new to either of us. However, why should I subject her to racial slurs and foul language when I don’t have to? I’m sure she gets enough of that on TV.
As a parent I strongly recommend, no I urge you not to let your kids read Bloody Chester. It’s violent, gruesome, has racial innuendos, and a ton of language I can’t see anyone letting a fourteen year old read.
1 out of 5 Controllers
Now, as an adult who generally loves violent and gruesome stories, Bloody Chester does not disappoint. It’s the tale of Chester, aka Lady Kate, and his misadventures. When I first started reading this graphic novel, it seemed as though Chester was having a really, really bad day. Every time he turned around he was getting pounded in the face by some guys’ large fist. I did feel sorry for him at one point because there was no clear indication on why he was the barer of such misery. It just seemed to be the thing to do in this old western town. It wasn’t until Chester is given the task of burning an entire town to the ground that he has the chance to redeem himself. And like a moth to a flame, I found myself rooting for Chester and hoping he would do the right thing.
Without giving away the plot, Chester does something at the very end of the story that made me cringe. Two wrongs don’t make a right. I feel that every decision Chester made was just wrong, wrong, and wrong. Maybe Petty didn’t want us to like Chester. Maybe he wanted us to hate his guts. Whatever the case and whatever the reason, by the end of the story I loathed Chester with a passion. I guess he did what he felt was best to save himself, but he obviously is amoral and has no feelings or compassion for others. I found him to be very unfeeling, unlikable, and I couldn’t relate to him at all. Is it bad to wish death on a character? Because that’s exactly how I felt.
With all that being said, if I reviewed Bloody Chester based on the actual story, I’d probably rate it high. I enjoyed the weird and crazy side characters and the idea of some plague killing people and making them look like mutilated zombie corpses. The art style reminded me of Sunday morning comics you’d read in the newspaper. But again, I can’t review this book without looking at the whole package, and for me, Bloody Chester fell flat on so many levels.
Overall if you are looking for an entertaining read this summer and you enjoy a lot of cursing and characters you might grow to hate, then Bloody Chester might be for you. But for everyone else, try reading Crawl to Me or This Haunted World.