Hello Internet. Welcome back for Review #9. And now, for a book that was controversial at the time of publishing, for it’s references to several religious beliefs. But I am not one to shy away from controversy, oh no.
You know, the vampire novel genre is really overused. With the constant soppy love novel (no, I still don’t know how a relationship works between a predator and its prey, like as if a Lion stopped to cry over the mangled remains of the juicy-looking gazelle it just killed) coming out every other week, and the twisting of the word “vampire” to mean “pretty, stuck-up and feminine person with suspiciously tan skin who lights up like a disco ball in the sunlight and can survive eating on squirrels”, I sort of lost all hope when reading these.
You know, I would like vampire novels. Vampires (akin to zombies) are incredibly interesting to me. What with all the eating of humans and the fact that they truly do live their life in the shadows (amazingly, like me with good internet speed and unlimited downloads). And when the occasional good vampire novel does grab me by the underthings and demands that I finish all of it as soon as is humanely possible (I’m looking at you Department 19), I can rant about it for ages. The Last Vampire, which was recommended to me by one of the few friends I trust to take book advice from, checks all the right boxes.
First off, the protagonist is pretty. Tick. She has all the right attitude and badassery when she wants to. Tick. She’s incredibly old, canny and experienced. Tick. Oh, and did I mention she’s a gore-loving, blood-sucking stone-cold-blooded killer who eviscerates three victims before breakfast? Big fat ticks come down like rain in a positive OHS form (there is a rude joke in there somewhere). Wow, this series is good for the sole reason the protagonist is awesome. But of course, you have to have the complementary lore, supporting cast and hugely overrated villain for the rest of the book to match up.
This is where I start to divulge from the positive side and tell you a few things that this book could certainly deliver more on. The supplementary cast is reasonable, but thanks to the weird love-triangle which is provided for a few chapters then snatched away later in the book, kind of obnoxious at times. The supporting characters just seem to get in the way, and the fact that the first-person perspective keeps them effectively in kindness bubble-wrap, you start to treat them like sickly sweet cough medicine. Avoid.
To quickly wrap up the real problems with this book, I would have to say the book style is the most subtle problem. After reading it, I suppose you could well compare the style to drinking blood. Thicker than water for the most part, hot, sweet and comes in 4 distinct types. But the aftertaste is obscene, the source is clearly a dead horse and the guilt will live with you forever. The author can do better. But then again, so can I.
The Last Vampire was published in 1994 by Simon and Schuster. It can be found on Amazon here.
Yours: J.M. Pear