27 October, 2009

Book 27 - The reformed vampire support group, or: "Being stuck indoors with the flu watching daytime television, forever and ever"

Vampires! They are pretty popular at the moment. Everywhere you go (if by "everywhere" you mean "the Young Adult section of bookstores") there they are, hangin' out, all, "Look how cool I am, I could drink your blood if I wanted to but I'm too cool for that! PS: I'm pretty sexy, unlike you. God, when did you last even wash your hair?" I may be projecting slightly.

I have to admit that I've never really got the whole vampire thing. That's not just a reaction to the recent surge in popularity, either; when I was thirteen or so I remember my friends reading a vampire series by Christopher Pike and being equally bemused. There are some exceptions: I loved the over-the-top pseudo-horror mess that was the Underworld movie. I also love Terry Pratchett's satirical take on vampires, who are far more style than substance and prefer to give up drinking blood for other, cleaner ways of gaining power of people. But when I saw this book I was immediately interested, since Catherine Jinks is a pretty talented author.

Title: The Reformed Vampire Support Group (2009)

Author: Catherine Jinks

Why this book?
Jinks wrote the amazing Pagan Chronicles, which was my sole food intake for like a year. She also wrote the pretty excellent Witch Bank. I was interested to see her take on vampires!

So what's it all about anyway?
Nina writes a popular vampire series, about the beautiful Zadia Bloodstone, crime-fighter extraordinaire. Secretly, Nina wishes she was just like Zadia Bloodstone, but she knows that it really is just a story. Real vampires aren't beautiful and strong: they're fragile, weak-willed, constantly sick and anti-social. Nina knows, because for the past thirty years she's been a vampire. And being stuck as a teenager forever isn't exactly fun.

Nina doesn't drink blood, either (at least, not human blood). She, along with the other members of Father Ramon's Reformed Vampire Support Group, have found other methods of coping with their problems. No attacking humans, that's one of their rules. So is not telling anyone what they are, because humans can be a bit - well - scared of vampires (although vampires are for the most part far more scared of them). But one member of their group isn't quite as dedicated to the cause as the others. That becomes apparent when they find him staked to death in his home.

Nina knows there is a slayer out there. And the group is sure that if they just talk to him (or her), he'll come to understand that vampires pose no real threat. But things are never quite that simple, and Nina and her friends suddenly find themselves in a world of underground werewolf fighting, deranged slayers, and vampires who really do think they can act like Zadia Bloodstone...

The Good and the Bad
This book should have been great - but I just couldn't get into it. The characters weren't quite engaging enough, the plot wasn't quite interesting enough, the pacing wasn't quite right - all in all, just not quite good enough. I actually really liked Nina, but since she was narrating the book it lost a lot of its suspense - you know the whole time nothing terrible is going to happen to her, because she's still alive (well, undead) at the end of the story to tell it, and I just couldn't work up enough enthusiasm about the other characters to care if any of them exploded in the sun or were eaten by werewolves or what have you. A disappointing read, overall.

So, should I read it or what?
It's pretty hard to make a story about people who eat hamsters bland, but somehow Catherine Jinks managed it. Not recommended.

Later this week, probably: Teen detectives, 70's style!

Link of the day: Top Ten 15 Saved By the Bell moments, because the 90's haven't really died yet.


Sadako said...

Heh. That so reminds me of "Fish Are Friends, Not Food"/support group in Finding Nemo!

I'm so excited. I'm so...I'm so...SCARED.

HelenB said...

That is possibly one of the most magical TV moments of ALL TIME.

Anonymous said...

The Reformed Vampire Support Group is an actual good book! You should recommend it for older readers or young adult I'm only 13 and i found it enjoyable!

HelenB said...

Just found your comment, Anonymous - thanks, it's always good to hear others' opinions on the books I'm reading!