“There is a face beneath this mask, but it isn’t me. I’m no more that face than I am the muscles beneath it, or the bones beneath that” – V for Vendetta, Steve Moore
Initial Thoughts: The movie V for Vendetta was released many years ago when I was still way way too young to even consider seeing it. This was way back when the scariest movie I had ever seen was Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which I had to hide my eyes during certain scenes. Though, for some reason, I found myself interested in the story of V for Vendetta. It is one of those stories that I have heard mentioned many times, but I have never brought myself to read or watch it. I am so glad that I came across this movie novelization of the screenplay of V for Vendetta by chance. Otherwise, I would have never known how amazing this story is.
Imagine a Britain stripped of democracy, a world of the not-too-distant future, in which freedom was not lost but surrendered willingly to a totalitarian regime that rose to power by exploiting the people’s worst fears and most damning weaknesses
This is the setting for the parable of Evey, a young woman saved from death by a masked man calling himself V. Beguiling and dangerous, V ignites the fuse of revolution when he urges his fellow citizens to shed the blanket of tyranny and oppression they have permitted themselves to be cloaked in. While those in power take steps to neutralize the threat, police pursue the mystery of V, unaware of the terrible truth that awaits them. But it is Evey who, with V as her enigmatic guide, sets out on the painful path of deception and self-discovery, deconstruction and re-creation, vindication and vengeance” Goodreads
Remember remember the fifth of November…
V for Vendetta is a movie that I had always wanted to watch since I had seen a clip of V’s speech in one of my sociology classes (it was a very liberal class). The problem was… when it comes to movies with a lot of violence, I automatically shy away. I am the biggest wimp ever! I knew that there was a graphic novel V for Vendetta by: Alan Moore (which the movie is based on), but I never got around to reading it. A while ago, I needed a new audiobook to keep me entertained at work. I found V for Vendetta by: Steve Moore. Instead of being based on the graphic novel, the novelization of V for Vendetta was based upon the screenplay by the Wachowskis. The Wachowskis are known for writing the screenplay and directing The Matrix films.
V for Vendetta is a dystopian story which takes place after a totalitarian government has taken over England and uses the media to cover up its mistakes. This illusion comes crashing down when a man in a Guy Fawkes mask who calls himself “V” begins to destroy the order within the government by assassinating some of their prominent members. Simultaneously he challenges the public to join him in his pursuit of anarchy. On one fated night, V meets Evey, a young woman who is caught by the secret police after curfew. This encounter sends Evey’s life spiraling out of control. The safe life she hoped to live is now in jeopardy, and there is no one she can trust, not even V.
I will quickly cut to the chase and admit that I adored this book. I adored this book so much that I ended up facing my fear of violent movies and I decided to watch V for Vendetta. I also loved the movie, but that is no surprise to me. I still have not read the graphic novel yet, so that may have an effect on how I see the novelization.
The writing is so eloquent. It is neither cheesy nor overdone. I really enjoyed how Moore dived into each character’s thought process. Many of the movie novelizations that I have read tends to ignore the character’s thought process in order to describe the action taking place. V for Vendetta is a story with a lot of action. And yet, Moore takes just the right amount of time to explain the characters’ motives for their actions. Meanwhile, the story is fast paced and full of heart stopping action sequences. Trust me, you will not be disappointed by all the unexpected twists and turns this story takes.
Another reason why this novel is extremely well written is most likely because of the screenplay in which it is based on. Don’t believe me? Here is a clip of my favorite part of the movie. If you are worried about spoilers, don’t be. This clip is right at the beginning of the movie when Evey meets V.
The alliteration of all the V’s makes it a little difficult to understand on the first go. Though, honestly, I was in awe when I heard this speech. It sounded as if it were right out of a Shakespeare play. After a few listens, I found this speech pivotal to understand V as a character. If you haven’t seen the movie, read the graphic novel, or the novelization before, then I would recommend returning to this scene after you have read or watched V for Vendetta.
Of course, the character who stole the show and made this book worth reading was V. V is such a deliciously complex character who is truly both “victim and villain.” True antiheroes are rare, and V fits the description like a glove. On one extreme, he appears to be completely insane and ruthless in his pursuit for anarchy. On another, he is a fascinating human being who sees a lot of potential in a country fueled by a totalitarian government. His character raises important questions to which there are a million right and wrong answers. Although his past is never fully explained, I find that I like it better that he remains a mystery. The fact that most of his past is shrouded in mystery is a key component to his incarnation as V. While I do not know what V is like in the graphic novel, in the movie and in the novel, he is a sort of theatrical suave assassin character. Who knew that these seemingly opposing characteristics could inhabit the same personae?
As for the leading lady, Evey Hammond, I was pleasantly surprised by the evolution of her character. At first, she appears to be an empty headed young woman whose horrible bad luck ends up forcing her to cross paths with V. As the novel and the movie goes on, she sheds her damsel in distress personae. Her evolution throughout the novel as well as her relationship with V makes the early incarnation of Evey worth tolerating.
I would recommend this book to fans of 1984 by: George Orwell. Throughout the book, there were many echoes of Orwell’s universe that any fan of 1984 would appreciate. I also found this book similar in some ways to Death Note. If you liked V for Vendetta, Death Note is definitely worth reading, and vice versa.
Final Rating: A+
About the Book Title: V for Vendetta Author: Steve Moore Based on: the screenplay V for Vendetta by the Wachowskis Year Published: 2006 Pages: 358 Genres & Subjects: Dystopian, fiction, science fiction
Until Next Time,