The Dead Days Journal : Volume 1 by Sandra R. Campbell
***Disclaimer: I received a free copy in exchange for a review.***
It’s a rare thing to read a book and find the core characters so unlikable. From the main character Leo(na)- who admits she’s been nothing but a tease to her love interest, Ben- to her father, Vincent- whose obsession with survival leads him to do some pretty horrible things to his own children- to Orrin, the vampire- who has the means to ensure the survival of both his race and humanity. He just needs a MarySue tween love interest to do it with. Literally.
The reason for the catastrophe that all but ends the world isn’t revealed until later in the book, and not only is it ridiculous by then you almost won’t even care anymore- it’s that corny. (It all has to do with a war between Heaven and Hell- a war which is the reason these creatures exist).
Vincent’s descent into madness was interesting for a while but just went so far beyond the pale it was a parody. The way the story alternated between his journal notes and Leona’s POV was a nice idea but comes up short. We spend the vast majority of the book in Leona’s head but basically get Vincent’s crib notes for his perspective on what’s happening, and it falls flat. Especially in light of his actions- actions that felt like a cheap plot device. They were so far out there I stopped caring- a wise move given his ultimate fate.
Leona, aka Leo, was one of the worst protagonists I’ve read so far this year. Utterly self-absorbed in the face of fighting for the survival of those she claims to love, it’s her selfish actions that draw the ‘blood-thirsty horde’ to their enclave to begin with. In a dying world, as the only one in the group truly capable of bearing a child at this point it’s her refusal to do so that ultimately dooms both her and the group. Because in the face of extinction it’s only right that a woman decide to hinder the survival of humanity simply because she likes to go jogging.
As for the ‘blood-thirsty horde’… well, they are blood-thirsty, being a new kind of vampire and all. But since it’s a YA novel, these vamps aren’t quite so demonic. Well they are, but they aren’t. I’ll leave it at that. Gladly. Orrin, the lead vampire and third member of the pre-requisite love triangle, was uninteresting, even when trying to be manipulative. His on-again/off-again routine just bored the heck out of me, and makes even less sense when you discover what his endgame is.
A nice enough idea, but badly executed.