TWO GIRLS, THOUSANDS OF MILES APART... Chelsea lives in Los Angeles; Miya lives in Tokyo. Other than the fact they're both half Japanese and obsessed with dressing like Gothic Lolitas, they would seem to have nothing in common. Or do they? THE BLOG THAT WENT AWAY. They got to know each other through their blogs. But three years ago something happened to Chelsea, an event so terrible that she stopped writing altogether. Miya's been checking Chelsea's blog ever since, to see if she's come back, but she never has. Until today. A LIFE AND DEATH CONNECTION. Today is the day Chelsea finally goes back online and tells Miya everything. And today is the day that Miya's life could change forever because of it. Like a Japanese manga come to life, Gothic Lolita is a mythic fairy tale about love, death, and rebirth...and the courage it takes to reach out to another soul.
Gothic Lolita is a strange, and melancholy tale of two girls who share a possibly supernatural connection to each other, and bond over online journals and the Gothic Lolita subculture/manga. I originally picked up this novel, because I melt for narratives that are unconventionally stylistically. Gothic Lolita reads as a long poem broken up into chapters and perspectives. Dakota Lane's writing is beautiful and lush, truly something to be experienced. To top it all off, Lane even incorporates her own ethereal photography into the story line, creating an all the more haunting feel to this novel. I also picked up this novel because I find myself quite fascinated with different subcultures, Gothic Lolita's included. I often wonder what it's like to literally drape your life in costume, and find this to be your normal. Lane includes wonderful passages about Miya and Chelsea's love for this culture. It is specific and decadent, almost seeming to take inspiration from Francesca Lia Block. I definitely sensed a bit of a Murakami influence in terms of its otherworldly sense of another dimension. This novel brought back an old love for online journaling; Those days when no one could peel me away from my LiveJournal, and everyone out there seemed artistic and beautiful.
Unfortunately, even with all of the beautiful descriptions and photography, I found myself a bit disappointed with this novel. The cover claims that it is a mystical thriller, which automatically got my attention. I immediately wanted to know what happened to make Chelsea stop writing and communicating with Miya. However, it seems that all of the important mysterious facts are all ready known after a bit, we only need for Miya and Chelsea to explain these facts to each other. Also, I found it quite hard to differentiate one point of view from another, and at times I had to go back to the start of the chapter to remember which character was speaking. The novel also lacks action, that I'll say I'm not often bothered by, I love exposition and thoughts, but for something deemed a 'mystical thriller' it would seem to need a bit more action to keep a readers' attention.
Bare in mind: Gothic Lolita contains profanity, what could be seen as disturbing scenarios, and supernatural elements.
Bottom line, I would recommend this novel to anyone who, like me, loves to take in beautiful, unconventional poetry, and photography. Read it because it's an oddity in the market. But if you're looking for action, and fast paced tension...I wouldn't move forward with this title.
I give Gothic Lolita by Dakota Lane 3 out of 5 cups of Earl Grey.