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Archive for the ‘Vampire Novels/Series’ Category

Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford

In General Fiction, Romance, Vampire Novels/Series on May 30, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Title: Jane Bites Back
Author: Michael Thomas Ford
Genre: Fiction/Romance
Rating: ***/****

I stumbled upon this on the ‘new arrivals’ shelf at my library. My immediate reaction was ‘It was inevitable the two giants of the publishing industry, vamps & Austen, would be combined. I didn’t think it would be any good, but Michael Thomas Ford’s work really surprised me. It was written for Janeites. It poked fun at the Jane Austen industry (& the vampire novel industry), even poking fun at the book itself when you think about it.

Jane Austen is over 200 years old, she never died of Addison’s Disease at all. It was a cover. She’s been living in a small town in New York for ten years & unlike most vamps she can walk in the sun, but she does need a bit of blood every now & again. Being a lady of course, she doesn’t kill. The main story of the book is that Jane is trying to get her manuscript published, a book called ‘Constance’ that eventually ends up on the bestseller’s list.

But who will show up to spoil it all? This is where it gets a little funny to me. The one who turned her is a dashing Scottish poet, AKA the most romantic man in the world. Guess who? He’s trying to force her back with him, at the possible expense of her friends’ lives. There’s Anne, manager of her bookstore who reminds her of her sister Cassandra & Walter, a contractor always trying to get a date with Jane even though she feigns disinterest.

And just when you think it’s over, a rival shows up. I can’t spoil it, but every Janeite knows about this person & their opinion of Jane’s work. You will find it very funny!

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The Laughing Corpse (Anita Blake #2) by Laurell K. Hamilton

In Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, Vampire Novels/Series on January 31, 2010 at 7:27 pm
The Laughing Corpse (Anita Blake #2) by Laurell K. Hamilton

The Laughing Corpse (Anita Blake #2) by Laurell K. Hamilton

Title: The Laughing Corpse (Anita Blake #2)

Author: Laurell K. Hamilton

Genre: Fiction/Vampire

Rating: ****/****

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Well, in the second Anita Blake book the pace picks up & we see Anita interact a little more with the new master of the city, Jean Claude. (When will they get together? Hmmm…)  She’s also investigating supernatural attacks with the police which seem to point to the perpetrator being a zombie.  But what kind of zombie could be tearing people literally to shreds & what would be the motive for raising such a zombie?

Anita herself gets entangled in a web to raise a zombie which requires a human sacrifice when a millionaire Harold Gaynor propositions her.  Of course, she refuses & we see her through the whole book trying to find out who raised the zombie before she becomes a victim of it herself.

What I especially liked about this book is how Anita managed to navigate her way into new situations with powerful priests & priestesses who reveal more about what she could have become if her lot in life had been different.  It’s also pretty gore-rific, so if you do not want descriptions about body parts or blood running everywhere, perhaps you should pass up this book.

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Anita Blake #1: Guilty Pleasures

A Touch of Dead (Sookie Stackhouse: The Complete Stories) by Charlaine Harris

In Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, Vampire Novels/Series on January 23, 2010 at 9:55 pm
A Touch of Dead (Sookie Stackhouse:The Complete Stories) by Charlaine Harris

A Touch of Dead (Sookie Stackhouse:The Complete Stories) by Charlaine Harris

Title: A Touch of Dead (Sookie Stackhouse: The Complete Stories)

Author: Charlaine Harris

Genre: Fiction/Vampire/Short Stories

Rating: ***/****

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If you haven’t read the series through ‘All Together Dead’, you may not want to read this collection because it may contain too many spoilers for you.  However, for fans who have read the series who didn’t want to go searching through Harris’ other novels to find these stories is in for a treat.  The book is short at just shy of two-hundred pages, but it’s packed with five stories that will make you laugh & feel a bit sentimental, as Sookie’s life stories normally do.

If you’re not interested in reading this, please just give it a chance for the story ‘Dracula Night’ alone.  And if you read the whole book, you’d learn a little more about Eric, Sookie’s cousin Hadley, & great-grandfather Niall. Read it, fans, read it.

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Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1) – review

http://charlaineharris.com

Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake #1) by Laurell K. Hamilton

In Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, Vampire Novels/Series on January 21, 2010 at 8:18 pm
Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake #1) by Laurell K. Hamilton

Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake #1) by Laurell K. Hamilton

Title: Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake #1)

Author: Laurell K. Hamilton

Genre: Fiction/Vampire

Rating: ***/****

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Like many people who have just entered into the vampire genre or perhaps haven’t picked up anything since Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, I feel it’s a bit overwhelming trying to sift through all the books trying to find a new series that I might enjoy.   Fortunately, Amazon.com recommend this series to me after purchasing the latest Sookie Stackhouse book ‘Dead & Gone’.  There are seventeen books so far in the series with more to follow & even a comic book series as well.

Anita Blake is a sassy twenty-four year old vampire slayer (with police permission) &  an animator who raises the dead.  She lives in St. Louis, making her living by being paid to raise the dead for customers, usually to dispute wills or whatever will get the most cash to her greedy boss.  It’s a strange world that she lives in: zombies, ghouls, vampires, weres, & who knows what else.  It’s packed with the supernatural & it is dangerous.

A series of vampire murders have taken place & Anita is forced  into working for the vampires to learn who the murderer is.  It’s a thriller/mystery that is fast-paced & it never gets tedious.  Nearly every supporting character is interesting, most importantly the master vampire Jean Claude who bonds with Anita.

I’ve tried to avoid spoilers across the web, but it has been interesting to read how upset fans since Laurell K. Hamilton has taken the books in a new direction after the first half of the series.  As for myself, I’ve got the second book on my shelf to read & review later & I’m looking forward to it.  I hope to see what becomes of the relationship between Jean Claude & Anita, & certainly, what fictional supernatural St. Louis has to offer.

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http://www.laurellkhamilton.org/

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1)

In Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, Vampire Novels/Series on January 14, 2010 at 5:20 pm
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Title: Dead After Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1)

Author: Charlaine Harris

Genre: Fiction/Vampire/Mystery

Rating: ***/****

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In the first Sookie Stackhouse novel (formerly the Southern Vampire Mysteries), we meet a twenty-five year old southern waitress who leads an ordinary life in the small town of Bon Temps, LA & suffers from a disability. It soon becomes clear that Sookie has the extraordinary ability to read minds which will come in handy, but not until she meets her first vampire Bill Compton. It’s been a couple of years since vampires ‘came out of the coffin’ to let the world know of their ‘virus’ since a Japanese company invented synthetic blood bottled known as TruBlood. (In every type, though they are supposed to not be as fully satisfying as the real thing.) While Sookie’s mind is constantly working to block the noise & images she receives from other human’s thoughts, Bill’s mind is silent to Sookie, which allows her to relax around him & embark on her first romance, much to the chagrin of certain people.

A murderer is taking the lives of women who have previously been involved with vampires & when Sookie’s brother Jason is implicated in the crimes, it’s up to her & Bill to find out who the killer is. Charlaine Harris expands on the vampire canon in new & interesting ways, she makes each character stand out (moreso in the later novels in the series, reviews to come) & although we don’t come to understand vampires completely, we get an idea that part of their humanity was never lost. And that human beings are capable of the worst crimes imaginable which makes their fear & prejudice towards the supernatural hypocritical.

Fans of ‘True Blood’ who haven’t read the books may be slightly disappointed with the storyline, but overall it contains much of the same plot as season one with a few major differences. Compared to tv Bill, he is more gruff & mysterious & other major characters in the show e.g. Tara, LaFayette, & Eric, do not figure prominently yet in the series.

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http://www.charlaineharris.com

This aint no Twilight… The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan

In Sci-Fi, Vampire Novels/Series on January 2, 2010 at 5:23 am

The Strain

Title: The Strain (Book One of The Strain Trilogy)

Authors: Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan

Genre: Horror/Vampire/Thriller

Rating: ***/****

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I am happy that I waited until the New Year to finish this book, because it has been a great way to open 2010!  I love vampires, but haven’t read many series or single novels in my time aside from the Southern Vampire Mysteries (AKA Sookie Stackhouse novels/True Blood novels), the Twilight series, & a few of Anne Rice’s vampire chronicles.   Hopefully, I’ll be re-reading those this year to review them, but with twenty-two holds in my library queue & another fourteen books (of various genres) to be read it may be a while.

The book opens with a bizarre incident at a NYC airport, a plane has landed on the tarmac, but has suddenly went offline completely.  There is no radio communication between the pilots, all the window shades are closed, & the lights are off.  The plane is dead!  Considering the tragedy of 9/11, the plethora of airport & government authorities are at a loss; hoping that nothing bad has happened to the passengers & crew.  Well, since we all know this is a horror novel, we’ve already realized that something bad has happened inside the plane.  But what protagonist Dr. Ephraim Goodweather of the CDC finds isn’t fully understood nor explained by his scientific & medical knowledge.

What is this substance that seems to coat the walls of the plane?  Why are all the passengers dead when no toxic gas is present?  No appearance of a struggle?  What made all the passengers die on board–or who?

What I enjoyed about ‘The Strain’ was that Del Toro & Hogan didn’t paint a simple picture of a vampire invasion of a modern city.   The vampires start out as either humans who survived the flight or eventually, the dead who rise again, but they all end up as essentially humans who are infected with a virus.  Yes, it sounds like a lot like what we’ve seen in the ‘Blade’ series/films, but the authors fully develop the idea along with developing their characters.  These are not two-dimensional people: they have struggles with marriage, raising their children, minority marginalization, classism, & eventually with the doctors, medical ethics.  Plus, the infection is set against the backdrop of tragedies e.g. the holocaust & then post-9/11 NYC.  It shows a message of hope for people to unite after we are attacked.

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Read more about ‘The Strain’ trilogy here at the official site:

http://www.thestraintrilogy.com/