Coming back to this book I realise that I was crazy to give it anything other than 5*. It’s truly a revolutionary work and the impact it’s had on me, and on modern society as a whole, has been increasing on a massive scale. Seeing the faces of protesters across the world covered by V’s mask is a testament to the Moore’s capacity to represent profound ideas through his characters. V has become a symbol of protest and revolution in our time just as the character was in the book. Anything other that 5* would be a disservice.
V for Vendetta truly sits alongside Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World at the peak of dystopian fiction.
This being my second experience (and I don’t use the word experience lightly) with Alan Moore’s work (the first being the Promethea series) I had pretty high expectations. The storytelling was brilliant as I have come to expect from Moore. The second chapter in particular, Evey’s torture and transformation, really struck a chord with me – “Happiness is a prison, Evey. Happiness is the most insidious prison of all.” – a chilling, almost Schopenhauerian pessimism that echoes throughout the book.
What an excellent insight into a dystopian parallel world that is eerily similar to our own. You really sense the feeling of civil unrest and class divide that must have been present at the height of Thatcherism in the 80’s. Moore, yet again illustrates aspects of his general philosophy throughout the book: namely the tendency towards a form of artistic anarchism (a view that is expressed excellently through the thoughts of the slightly insane anti-hero V).
Although the story was both haunting and extremely compelling in parts the one reason why I couldn’t give it 5 stars was that I had already seen the film. The film is definitely pretty true to the text, albeit with a lot more action sequences and special effects. The problem I had whilst reading it was that it somewhat lacked suspense, I already knew what was going to happen at most of the pivotal points in the story. In fact, I almost regret watching the film first as i’m sure reading the graphic novel beforehand would have been a hugely gratifying experience. However, saying this, it was a great book and I would definitely recommend it to any fans of dystopia, particularly those who hand’t seen the film first!