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review 2014-08-26 04:09
It's Not Easy Being V
The Reformed Vampire Support Group - Catherine Jinks

And of course that's "V" for Vampire. I put this as #2 in the Young Adult Literature chapter of my book Vampires' Most Wanted: The Top Ten Book of Bloodthirsty Biters, Stake-wielding Slayers and Other Undead Oddities because it had such a fresh take on the whole vampire thing. One of the things that fascinates me about vampirism is how it can so totally change a life. What if, rather than giving one superpowers (as it does in so many books in the genre) it presents the vampire with challenges. What if it were more like a condition that you had to manage. The narrator, Nina" was "fanged" (as she puts it, as a teen in the '70s. Since then, she has physically remained a teen, dealing with her condition (and her need for blood), living in the basement of her mother who is aging and will die one day. Nina will then be on her own with a fairly debilitating condition. She partakes in a support group with other vampires, each dealing with their own issues from the condition particular to them. When some members of the group go to pick up Casimir, they find only a pile of ash at the meeting place. They must go forth into a world they've hidden from, some for longer than a lifetime, to find out who is staking vampires and why.


The book is written with a light touch and there's a lot of humor but there remains a level of adventure to it as well. What's refreshing is that these characters are not written as glorious immortals, just people trying to deal with an often times inconvenient condition. They are able to get past their handicaps and come together for the good of the group and the vampire community. 


I highly recommend this book. 

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review 2013-12-12 22:06
Vampires Don't Need to Sparkle, People
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown - Holly Black

For the past ... some number of years I've been avoiding the vampire young adult novels and movies.  I figure the reason for this can go pretty much unspoken.  I blame the book-series-that-shall-not-be-named.  Twilight cough.  hack.  Even saying the name after reading the first two books in the series makes me cringe.  Vampires have been completely tamed, turned into creatures that can be domesticated as long as you love them enough.  What nonsense is that?  Part of what makes them romantic is that they are monstrous.  Dracula was romantic, but damn, he didn't sparkle.  Gavriel was romantic in The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, he didn't sparkle either, he bled.  Thank you, Holly Black, for restoring my faith in vampires.


Tana is an average human teenage girl.  She likes to party, has a douchebag ex-boyfriend who she can't seem to shake, a best friend away at drama camp, and a tag-along little sister.  One night while she's at a sundown party, all of that changes.  She wakes up, after passing out in a shower, to carnage beyond what she can believe.  The description of the dried blood in the carpet crunching between her bare toes - definitely a winner and when I knew that this had some real potential.  Someone had cracked a window to let a breeze into the locked down farm house and everyone had died for it.  She finds herself on a roadtrip to Coldtown, with her vampire bitten ex-boyfriend and a slightly crazy vampire, Gavriel.


Coldtown is basically a quarantine for vampires. I adored the way that Holly Black approached vampirism.  She approaches it with a combination of a disease, an addiction, and an unlocking of the inner self.  In this world, when you've been bitten by a vamp, you are considered Cold.  This is when the craving for human blood kicks in.  Once someone who is Cold drinks human blood, they die and wake up a full fledged vampire.  However, there is a catch.  If a person manages to go eighty eight days Cold, without drinking human blood, they beat the disease.  Of course, these 88 days are basically like detoxing from drugs, except you have superhuman strength and senses.  Usually, once someone goes Cold, they bring themselves to Coldtown, or their families turn them in, because beating being Cold is so rare and difficult that it is basically considered impossible.  Once you're in Coldtown, you never never ever get back out.


Truly, the only reason that this wasn't a five star book was something I couldn't quite put my finger on.  The gore was delicious, the people were real, the background was fascinating, the vampires were tackled beautifully.  However, for some reason that I can't put my finger on it felt like the writing lacked passion.  It lacked some sort of spark that I kept hoping to find.  It just wasn't there.


Overall, an amazing book that speaks volumes for the classically gory blood-soaked vampires, even in young adult.  Vampires don't need to sparkle, people.

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review 2013-07-09 00:00
Vampirism And You! - Missouri Dalton Personal review at a later time but loved it!
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review 2012-08-30 00:00
Vampires and Vampirism - Montague Summers Interesting research on vampirism but it tends to lean a bit too much on the religious side. I mean, I did expect some of that with the author's background and all but, damn, apparently you have to read a whole bunch of Saints' stories and all about exorcisms before understanding saints are holy people and not evil vampires. Other big, big downside to this book would be the long untranslated quotations in French, German, Greek and Latin. I sorted my way through French and Latin but, well, there was no way for me to figure out Ancient Greek.
I wanted to know more about ancient vampire lore so it served its purpose but I think that if that wasn't the case I would have been very bored with so much religious content.
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review 2010-02-13 00:00
The Darkling: A Treatise on Slavic Vampirism - Jan Louis Perkowski Excellent source one Slavic vampirism.
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