Vampire World

Vampire World

Today’s novel was kindly provided by the author in exchange for a fair review. I just thought I would make that clear immediately before I continue. I say on the FAQ page that I do not believe in praising a novel where it is not deserved and, to be perfectly frank, I believe that this novel is an example of what I consider to be a frustrating story – one that has a pretty interesting concept but fails to be compelling over all. More on that shortly.

Vampire World was written by Rich Douglas and was first published in 2013. Although this novel reads as though it is the first book in a longer series, at the time of writing this review there have been no further instalments announced.

Marissa is a beautiful and popular teenager who has scored herself a handsome boyfriend and is looking forward to making out with him on their next date. However, as they park on a lover’s lane, their car is attacked by a vampire and Marissa is bitten as she tries to escape.

Waking up in a horrendously cruel vampire orphanage, Marissa finds that she has no memory of anything that happened before that day. Now called Janice, she is told that her parents were killed in a car accident and her only hope of leading a happy life is to be adopted into a kind vampire family.

This rescue comes shortly afterwards in the form of Mr John FreeCut, an elderly vampire who has always wanted children. However, Janice’s problems have only just begun. With no knowledge of how Vampire World functions, she struggles to find a job and make new friends. On top of everything else, a mysterious stranger has begun to leave her messages, hinting that there is a deep conspiracy surrounding her existence. Just who exactly is she and what are the TriFang?

In Vampire World, the author has aimed to create a complete and cohesive universe. As the title suggests, Vampire World is actually the name of the planet where vampires live. It is set in its own solar system, orbited by the Garlic Moon. In this world, Gothic fashions and multiple tattoos are the norm and anyone who dresses differently is ostracised. The national sport is fireball – a kind of knock-out tennis – and it is taken so seriously that players can be executed for not turning up to matches. It is a creative concept that allows the author to have free reign in creating his own culture. Unfortunately, the creativity does not seem to stretch to naming conventions.

Vampires, it seems, are pretty unimaginative when it comes to naming things. Everything in the world is made up of aggressive words – bite, stake, cut, fang – leading so such names as John FreeCut, Senator BloodHunt and the Bitemore Cemetery. Foods are similarly dull, seeming to be virtually identical to recognisable human dishes but with word ‘blood’ inserted before them (e.g. blood eggs, blood chips and blood pizza). On top of this is the bizarre need to insert the word ‘vampire’ into phrases, such as one moment when Rob questions if Brett has the “vampire balls” to take him on. In this world, there are no humans and vampires seem to be the only sentient species. In considering this, using the name of their race in this way makes no sense. We wouldn’t ask if someone has the human balls, so why would a vampire ask if he has the vampire balls?

The names were jarring and caused me endless frustration as I read the story, and certainly did not help me to remember which character was which. One of Vampire World’s biggest stumbling points was that it contained a large cast of characters who were largely all shallow and unpleasant for no good reason. With the exception of Janice, Brett (her boyfriend) and Mr FreeCut, no other characters made any kind of impression on me. There were a couple of vampires who tried to be nice to Janice, but most either lusted over her or hated her on sight. The novel never really explained why Vampire World was almost exclusively populated by jackasses, but it certainly meant that I never felt any kind of attachment towards any of them. In fact, I’m not sure I could even name more than about five of them.

Unfortunately, I didn’t really feel any sympathy towards Janice either. She was just too vain and self-serving to be a likable character, feeling the need to remind us that she was more beautiful than all the other vampires with every breath. Although she did seem, at first, to be different to the other bloodbitches and blood whores (see what I mean about the naming conventions?), as soon as she began to make a little money it became readily apparent that she was exactly the same as all of them. At one point, Brett’s family home is utterly destroyed and his impoverished parents are left destitute. What does Janice do? Does she offer some of her own hard earned money to help get them back on their feet? Does she stay and comfort them, offering to help them tidy their home? No, she buys Brett a tattoo to make him feel better. Not since Elena Gilbert has there been a character who I so thoroughly wanted to shake.

It’s a shame that the novel is so drastically flawed because at its very core was a mystery story that I really wanted to get behind. The clues left by her masked messenger were intriguingly cryptic and added a sinister undercurrent to the tale. Unfortunately, the mystery was heavily buried beneath the chapters devoted to her job at the Vampire Supermarket (which seemed to be more of a clothes shop, despite what the name suggests) and the fireball tournament (which felt like a major plot line but was an utterly pointless aside in the end). If more focus had been placed on the conspiracy, it might have made the novel more of a gripping read but these aspects were only really shoehorned in over the last fifty pages or so.

This was the biggest fail of the novel as, with a bit of work, it could have made a reasonably interesting thriller but this half of the plot just was not very well integrated. I think, in part, that this is because we were already privy to important information that Janice was not – her past. We knew from the beginning exactly what the mystery of her past was and therefore what was a shocking plot twist for Janice was not one for the reader. Perhaps if the novel had not contained the opening chapter, instead beginning with her waking up in the orphanage, then the ending of the novel would have had a greater impact.

So, what did I think? Well, Vampire World did have some interesting ideas and it did really try to be an engaging story but it just completely failed to enthrall me. The unengaging plot was buried beneath too many superfluous plot threads, revolving around the life of a teenage vampire who seemed to grow increasingly less sympathetic as time progressed. Adding to this was an unmemorable secondary cast and some naming conventions that seemed to utterly lack in imagination. All in all, the novel was a bit of a convoluted mess and not something that I would really recommend to anyone.

Vampire World can be purchased as a Paperback and eBook on Amazon.co.uk

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog Stats

  • 24,299 awesome people have visited this blog

© Kim Dyer and Arkham Reviews, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kim Dyer and Arkham Reviews with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

All novels reviewed on this site are © to their respective authors.

%d bloggers like this: