Tagged: vampires

The Dead Days Journal by Sandra R. Campbell

The Dead Days Journal by Sandra R. Campbell(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

The daughter of a radical doomsday prepper, Leo Marrok spent her entire life preparing for the end. A skilled fighter and perfect marksman, Leo is her father’s second-in-command when Armageddon comes to pass. Together, they lead a group of survivors to a secure bunker deep in the Appalachian Mountains.

Vincent Marrok is willing to take extreme measures to repopulate their broken world. Leo’s refusal marks her as a traitor. With father and daughter at odds for the first time, their frail community is thrust into turmoil. Until the unthinkable happens, a blood-thirsty horde arrives. The impending attack will destroy all that they have worked for.

To protect her home and everything she believes in, Leo puts her faith in the arms of the enemy—a creature only rumored to exist—the one she calls Halloween. An alliance born out of necessity evolves into feelings Leo is ill-equipped to handle.

The Dead Days Journal is a post-apocalyptic story of love and family told through Leo Marrok’s first-hand account and the pages of Vincent’s personal journal, giving two very different perspectives on what it takes to survive.

[Full disclosure: I requested and received a free ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

One of the things you have to know about The Dead Days Journal is that it’s not a zombie book.  More of a vampire book, to be honest but at the same time it’s nothing like classical YA vampires.  No, the majority of these vampires are hungry, rabid beings who have no higher thought processes at all.  There are of course some notable exceptions but these vampires are part of what makes Sandra R. Campbell’s book quite unique.

Imagine that the world has come to an end as you know it and you’re living in a small community in a cave, scavenging for survival, knowing that at any minute you could be vampire food.  What would you do?  Just survive or try to thrive and take the world back from the rabid vampires?  It’s an interesting question and many of the characters give it very different answers.  Vince Marrok, as you read in the blurb, is willing to take extreme measures to repopulate the world and poor Leo (his own daughter) isn’t even immune.  In fact, their disagreement about having children is part of the reason their safe little community comes to a dramatic end as everything they once knew changes.  I don’t want to give too much away because part of the fun is seeing how the two characters will react to each others’ actions but let’s just say that one or both of them will snap.  Once that veneer of safety is taken away, all bets are off in regards to predicting the behaviour of everyone in the community.

Leo is a very interesting character.  She’s matured in a world that doesn’t forgive weakness and she’s realized that humanity realistically has very little chance of coming back from something like this.  So, understandably, she doesn’t want a physical relationship with any of the men her age and she definitely doesn’t want children.  Why would you want children when you could be devoured by some insane creature at any second of any day?  Things get complicated when Leo decides that she does want a relationship because she does love one of her fellow group members, Ben.  Once her father sees her in a relationship, things get heated between the two and he does something that really breaks up their once trusting relationship.  And that’s when she meets Halloween, an intelligent vampire who tears down a lot of the preconceptions Leo had about his kind.  (Oh, and he’s definitely not a typical vampire either because Campbell made these ones unique.)  When the two start travel together and go through all kinds of hardships together, it’s not hard to see how things could get messy when feelings begin to be involved.

The plot is slow but interesting in the beginning and then it gets both fast-paced and interesting later on.  There’s a lot more interpersonal conflict than action per se but some of the conflicts between people get pretty heated.  It helps that there’s always this undercurrent of tension running throughout the narrative and even when things seem to settle down, they can change very quickly.  Just when Leo thinks she’s safe, she learns that she is far from it, for example.  Or just when she thinks that she’s averted a disaster and saved people, things turn out very differently.  The plot is very unpredictable; Sandra Campbell really does a great job at keeping readers on the edges of their seats.  I know I sure didn’t want to put this book down until I finished it!  And the cliffhanger at the end doesn’t seem forced so you’ll definitely want to read the next book as much as I do.

If you’re looking for some post-apocalyptic fiction but want something that diverges from the regular formula, The Dead Days Journal is a great place to start.  It’s got three dimensional characters, amazing world-building and a plot that just keeps surprising you.  I can’t recommend it enough.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

It’s one thing to find out you’re a vampire princess. It’s a whole other thing to actually rule. Newly married Jessica Packwood is having a hard enough time feeling regal with her husband, Lucius, at her side. But when evidence in the murder of a powerful elder points to Lucius, sending him into solitary confinement, Jessica is suddenly on her own. Determined to clear her husband’s name, Jessica launches into a full-scale investigation, but hallucinations and nightmares of betrayal keep getting in her way. Jessica knows that with no blood to drink, Lucius’s time is running out. Can she figure out who the real killer is —and whom she can trust— before it’s too late?

I liked the first book Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side in a kind of guilty pleasure way.  There was an attractive guy, an average girl with hidden strengths and plenty of humour.  It wasn’t the most original thing I ever read but I was pleased with the way Beth Fantaskey created her vampires and the sort of hierarchy within them.  In all, it was just a good read.  However, I was very disappointed with Jessica Rules the Dark Side.

One of the things that I loved about the first book was Jessica as she grew to accept her role as a vampire princess and found an inner strength.  With the help of Lucius and her friend Mindy, she almost single-handedly reunited the two biggest feuding vampire clans in Romania.  Despite Lucius trying to kill her in a fit of half-madness, she managed to reunite the clans and make him realize that they really can be together because they love each other.  She was a sort of stereotypical shy teenager with low self-esteem in the beginning but Jessica triumphed and worked through a lot of those issues.  It was really satisfying.

But in Jessica Rules the Dark Side, she seems to have regressed to her former self now that she’s married and it was really disappointing.  Sure, she’s very much over her head when it comes to vampire politics but Beth Fantaskey starts the sequel at a point where she should at least be learning basic things about each vampire on the council, things about vampire lore and proper stake etiquette.  She should also be learning Romanian, but she seems to make absolutely no effort to do so.  It’s really frustrating, especially since in the first book she declared that she wanted to be a princess and learn how to rule.  Then rule, woman!  Don’t just sit there like a bump on a log waiting as events crash into you in wave after wave of dangerous plot twists.  Even when Lucius is put in solitary confinement and deprived of blood, Jessica just sort of wanders around aimlessly.  It’s really, really frustrating.

One thing I found the most frustrating about this novel is that it’s told not just from Lucius and Jessica’s points of view, it’s also told from the point of view of Mindy and Raniero, a deadly vampire warrior who just wants to be a surfer dude.  Mindy is the most annoying character in this book because she’s such a walking stereotype: she’s slightly ditzy, a fashionista, loves make up, isn’t sure what to do with life, etc.  It’s really, really frustrating because her story is told with the poor grammar that she actually uses when she speaks.  Raniero, on the other hand is desperately trying to be a surfer dude while knowing full well that he can never really banish his warrior side, no matter how hard he tries.  He’s very frustrating in the beginning because of this but I liked him in the end when he actually accepted his role in the vampire hierarchy.

So the characters this time around were mediocre at best (except for Lucius, of course) but the plot was absolutely painful.  It almost felt like someone was pulling my nails out in front of my the whole time.  Why?  Because it’s a mystery and I figured it out shortly after Lucius had been accused of murder, sometime around the first third of the book.  I had to watch as Jessica stumbled blindly around like her old self and in the end was saved by Mindy, someone who doesn’t really have the intelligence to figure out that Raniero isn’t all that he seems.  It was so frustrating.  I get that Jessica’s new to this world and is rather distracted by the fact that Lucius is slowly starving in the dungeons, but really?  You only applied modern-ish forensics to the case at the eleventh hour?  Wouldn’t it have been easier to examine the body first, like a logical human being would?  Not only that, when someone is advising you to do things and those things keep going wrong, maybe you should be suspicious of your adviser!

In the end, I wish I had never read this sequel.  It’s not badly written but it’s frustrating to see characters I liked completely regress and to have the whole book revolve around a mystery 90% of readers probably solved before they got to the halfway mark in the book.  If you read the first book, I can’t honestly recommend reading Jessica Rules the Dark Side.  It’s just disappointing.

I give this book 2/5 stars.

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Daughters of Shadow and Blood: Yasamin by J. Matthew Saunders

Daughters of Shadow and Blood Yasamin by J. Matthew Saunders(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

Buda, Ottoman Hungary, 1599: Yasamin, the naïve daughter of an Ottoman bureaucrat, finds herself trapped in an arranged marriage to the son of the powerful governor of Buda. She is unprepared for the gossip and scheming rampant in the palace but realizes she faces more than petty jealousies when someone tries to drown her in the baths on the day before her wedding. An unearthly menace lurks in the palace corridors, and the one person able to protect Yasamin is a soldier named Iskander, who seems to appear whenever she needs him. Charming and confident, he is nothing like her new husband, but trusting either of them could be a deadly mistake.

Berlin, Germany, 1999: Adam Mire, an American professor of history, discovers a worn, marked-up copy of Dracula. The clues within its pages send him on a journey across the stark landscape of Eastern Europe, searching for a medallion that once belonged to Dracula himself. But a killer hounds Adam’s footsteps, and each new clue he uncovers brings him closer to a beguiling, raven-haired woman named Yasamin Ashrafi, who might be the first of Dracula’s legendary Brides.

Adam has an agenda of his own, however, a quest more personal than anyone knows. One misstep, and his haunted past could lead to death from a blade in his back … or from Yasamin’s fatal embrace.

[Full disclosure: I requested and received a free ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

The first thing you really need to know about this first book in the Daughters of Shadow and Blood series is that it’s told in three different points of view.  We have the point of view of Yasamin from when she was human, the present day with Adam Mire and the past with Adam Mire as he tried to unravel the mystery that is Dracula and his brides.  I personally loved Yasamin’s point of view the most because I love history but Adam’s point of view was really just as good in a lot of aspects (particularly during his banter with Yasamin).

The thing that really stood out to me in this book is that Saunders is a master of plot pacing as well as suspense.  Sometimes the point of view shifts can be a little disjointed or disconcerting (in some cases quite disconcerting) but in each little chapter there’s that undercurrent of tension as we move closer and closer to the end of the story and the end of Adam’s time talking to Yasamin.  Will she decide to let him live if she enjoys his tale enough or will she kill him anyway because he knows too much?  Not only that, we want to know what happens within each story: how Yasamin came to know the man known as Dracula and how Adam Mire stumbled across the truth about Dracula and found Yasamin.  And of course, what does Dracula himself think of all this?  I don’t want to give too much away but let’s just say he’s not missing from the face of the earth like everyone seems to think he is.

Both main characters were fascinating for different reasons.  Yasamin is fascinating not only because of her association with Dracula but because she was a remarkable young woman when she was still human.  She grew up in the provinces and so never really was prepared for the secluded nature of the royal harem when she marries the oldest son of Buda’s governor.  When she realizes she isn’t really attracted to her husband and that she’d really rather have his little brother, things definitely get interesting.  Yasamin stays true to herself without and when she develops a dangerous attraction to the mysterious Iskander, things start to spiral out of control.  Adam Mire is fascinating because he’s an historian with a pretty exciting past.  After his best friend died he tries to search out clues hidden in his friend’s books and other documents to see what he was looking for and what he died for.  In the process, Adam encounters more than he’d bargained for but he’s not as unprepared as Yasamin would like to think.

Of course when you have fantasy colliding with history there are going to be some liberties taken with the facts but Saunders does a really good job of mixing the two together to create a great story.  I loved how he meticulously researched the Ottoman Empire and gave little details of everyday life to make Yasamin’s story all the more authentic.  And he mixes in parts of the Dracula legend everyone will recognize while adding in some other parts to make it more of his own.  (I particularly liked the Michael the Brave and Iskander connection.)  If you’re a fan of the Dracula legend or just vampires in general I think Daughters of Shadow and Blood: Yasamin is at least worth checking out.  Who knows?  Maybe by the time you finish the book you’ll be as eager as I am for the sequel.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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Voracious by Mia and Mason Darien

Voracious by Mia and Mason Darien(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

Sometimes, life doesn’t begin until after you’re dead.

Days stretch out in a series of predictable steps. A to B to C to A. Work. Friends. Life. But for some people, it’s not enough. It’s not enough for D. Possessed of a ravenous hunger for more, he’s at a loss for how to find it.

Until he meets Cielle. She’s everything he’s looking for: new and exciting.

And a vampire, which he’s less crazy about.

But when “new and exciting” Turns him, D is forced into an undead life he never anticipated. Trying to adjust to this new existence is hard enough, but he’s about to get more than he ever bargained for.

Will it be enough to sate his hunger?

[Full disclosure: I obtained a free ebook through the blog tour for the series but was under no obligation to review it.  As always, this review is honest.]

Sometimes collaborations between authors work, sometimes not.  Sometimes authors collaborate with their spouses to write a book just like Mia Darien did.  Again, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.  But in the case of Voracious, it most definitely worked.

D is a man who we have no full name for but that’s about as mysterious as he gets.  He’s just a regular guy at a nine to five job but deep down he yearns to be something more.  In the beginning, the Dariens do a really good job creating this sense of “there’s gotta be more to life” for him, this inescapable energy, this mysterious urge to have something more out of life.  It’s really hard to describe but in the book it is done extremely well.  And it of course leads to D becoming a vampire, lured in by the mysterious Cielle who turns him somewhat against his will.  Being a vampire would certainly add spice to anyone’s dull life but D takes it pretty badly because of the whole “against his will” thing.  In his situation I wouldn’t really do much different but unfortunately his ignoring Cielle despite her pleas leads to her death.  Then D is left to transition to a vampire without a sire and to hunt down the people that killed Cielle.  It’s when he decides to do this that we finally see some of that drive of his satiated as he finds a new role both as avenger, and oddly enough, protector of a woman he saves.

A lot of books with unnamed narrators just don’t work in my opinion.  The author tries so hard to create an air of mystery around characters that it becomes laughable.  However, the Dariens are more than capable of pulling this off.  They depict D’s drive to have something more so well that you start to feel the same as he does by about the end of the second or third chapter.  He is so well written that it’s hard not to connect with him despite his sometimes ethically questionable actions.  He is, in essence, a perfect character because he’s interesting and readers can easily connect to him on an emotional level.  Haven’t we all wanted something more out of life at one point or another?

The plot was pretty amazing.  I really had no idea where Voracious was going for the majority of the book so the ending was kind of a pleasant surprise.  It’s certainly not your perfect fairytale ending but it is emotionally satisfying and you have fewer questions than you do at the beginning of the story.  Of course as always we get to see Sadie (the main character of Cameron’s Law, the first book) through the eyes of another and really appreciate what a great person she is for helping out so much in the supernatural community.  She certainly helped out D during his adjustment period and when he had no choice but to turn another vampire, something that is sort of forbidden for new vampires.  Although the plots of the first two books were fast-paced, Voracious is probably one of the more action-oriented books of the series.  It never sacrifices character development for the plot, though.

As always, the world-building in the Adelheid series is fantastic.  When we meet Sadie she’s already been a vampire for several decades so it was nice to see how a new vampire would be treated, especially since Cameron’s Law was passed and they didn’t have to hide their new abilities.  One of the things I actually liked the most, however, was seeing how the animators in the series work.  We saw an animator bring back a dead person temporarily to get their side of the story in the second book, When Forever Died, but seeing the other uses for animators was fascinating and oddly touching.  Once again, Mia Darien has expanded the world of Adelheid and she’s done it to great effect in collaboration with her husband.  It’s really hard not to love Voracious.

Even if you haven’t read the previous two books, I highly recommend picking up Voracious.  Since every book in the series is only slightly connected and features a different character you can pick up a book anywhere in the series and still enjoy it.  And really, starting with D’s story is as good a place as you’ll get.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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When Forever Died by Mia Darien

When Forever Died by Mia Darien(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

Forever is a long time.

The life of a hunter is a lonely one. Perhaps more for Dakota than others in her line of work. Not only is she better than anyone else at chasing down the things that go bump in the night, but her past chases her with the same tenacity.

She’s built walls around her solitary existence and that’s the way she likes it, but the past never sleeps. When she’s hired to hunt an ex-lover for murder, it’s just the first in a string of memories that will bring Dakota’s past, present and future into a collision course.

And when she agrees to take on a second case and hunt down an Ancient, a vampire over one thousand years old, it unleashes circumstances onto that collision that will shake the foundation of everything she’s built and force her, for the first time in a long while, to look to others.

Can she survive it, like she’s survived these past four centuries? Or will the weight of it all finally crush her?

[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook in conjunction with the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.]

Dakota was one of the secondary characters that really intrigued me in the first book of the Adelheid series, Cameron’s Law.  That was from Sadie’s point of view and in When Forever Died we learn that Sadie has hired Dakota as a freelance hunter to work on a job-by-job basis.  But what happens when a job comes across Dakota’s desk that brings her long-suppressed past back to the surface?

Even though we met Dakota briefly in the first book I was extremely excited to read about her adventures in this second book and I certainly wasn’t disappointed.  Dakota has had a hard life as we learn through various flashbacks and her powers have not made life easy for her.  Even though it would be pretty cool to morph into anything or anyone you’d like it doesn’t solve all of your problems—sometimes it even causes them as she learns when she starts tracking down a rogue Ancient.  When she discovers that a former lover of hers and someone even closer to her are involved with this Ancient and his mysterious but clearly nefarious plans, things definitely get interesting.  It’s very gratifying to see Dakota change throughout the course of the story as she learns more about herself and her past but also begins to look more to the present and begins to appreciate the people around her.  She’ll never be the life of the party by any stretch of the imagination but it was nice to see her begin to realize that maybe people aren’t so bad at all.

Even if the plot sucked, Dakota would have carried the day and still made this a good book.  However, the plot was awesome as well.  Tracking an Ancient isn’t easy, particularly when they don’t want to be found and they have immensely powerful beings helping them.  Add into that a seemingly insane secret society of supposedly reincarnated figures from Norse legends and you’ve got a very interesting and extremely fast-paced plot.  Nothing is as it seems and of course nothing is simple in Adelheid’s supernatural community.

Speaking of the supernatural community, I absolutely love Mia Darien’s world-building.  In Cameron’s Law we mainly see the world of vampires and werewolves as well as the human opposition to the fact that they are now considered human beings with full legal rights.  Here in When Forever Died we see Dakota’s extremely rare species of shapeshifter, one that can turn into whatever they like whereas normal shapeshifters are restricted to one animal form like Sadie’s weretiger boyfriend Vance.  Just because almost a year has passed since the events of the first book doesn’t mean that humans are more accepting of the supernatural community, though.  And just because the supernatural community is ecstatic that they’re allowed to live in the open doesn’t mean some of them bear any less hatred of humans than before.  Mia Darien is good at not only creating unique species of supernatural creatures but also creating complex and believable political systems within and without the supernatural community.

Even if you haven’t read the first book, you can certainly start the series at When Forever Died or any of the other books in the series because each stands alone quite well.  They’re all interconnected in fascinating ways but you don’t have to start right at the beginning because they all feature different characters.  It’s a great way to go about a series like this and I have to say that I can’t wait to read the other three books.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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Eternal Neverland: Steps Before the Fall by Natasha Rogue

Eternal Neverland; Steps Before the Fall by Natasha Rogue(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

Helena K. Sharpe was raised by a man who had sympathy for supernatural creatures, for the vampires his bloodline hunted for centuries. She was too young to understand how he tried to help them, but she knew it was important. Her father made her promise never to hunt them and she would do anything to keep that promise.

Until he is murdered by the very things he dedicated so much of his life to.

Orphaned and alone, Helena takes to the street, afraid for whatever’s left of her life. Without her family, she doesn’t know how–or even if–she can go on. Until a vagrant takes her under his wing and gives her a purpose. Revenge.

For six years she learns about the monsters, studies their habits, until, at 15 years old, she feels she’s ready to find the ones responsible for her parent’s death. All she has to do is become one of them. She’s cute, young, innocent…

They’ll never see her coming.

[Full disclosure: I requested and received a free ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

I really had high expectations for this book when I started it because of the blurb.  A girl who has trained for years to hunt vampires becoming a vampire to seek vengeance for her family’s murder?  That sounds pretty darn cool, especially when she’s only 15 years old.

The problem was that the main character, Helena, was totally uninteresting in addition to being unsympathetic.  Things start out pretty good with her becoming a vampire, albeit with two sires.  Then she gets into the heart of a vampire coven and starts adjusting to vampire life, learning to go by the name Kitt because apparently vampires can read minds if they know your real name.  I could get past that weird world-building if Kitt was actually interesting, but she’s not.  Throughout the novel she’s supposed to be this master Machiavellian manipulator but all I really saw was a smart mouthed 15-year-old who screwed up pretty much every single thing she tried to do.  And yet every single man in this book is attracted to her.  Yep, I can totally see all of these decades old vampires being attracted to a naive if beautiful fifteen year old who seems intent on manipulating them all (unsuccessfully).  It just makes absolutely no sense and Kitt never really gets past her initial awfulness.  In fact, she seems to get worse as the book goes on.

As you’ve probably guessed, the world-building was pretty weak when you take a good look at it.  I can believe fantasy stories where knowing someone’s ‘true’ name gives you power over them, but just their first name?  That doesn’t really make any sense and Natasha Rogue never really explains it adequately.  The vampire hierarchy within the city, however, was actually pretty good.  I like the idea of different covens having different territories but ultimately being interested in keeping the general peace in the city for fear of discovery.  However, it’s not really explained why/how Kitt suddenly breaks the peace.  She does a bunch of really, really stupid stuff but why David (one of her sires) never lets her go to Charlie (another of her sires who actually wants to take care of her) is just left out.  So it somehow starts a war between the covens and other factions get involved.  It had a lot of potential but never really lived up to the promise in the blurb.

While the world-building was weak and the characters were generally intolerable, the strength of Rogue’s novel was in the plotting and the pacing.  Even though the plot doesn’t always make sense it is fairly interesting in the beginning and the whole novel is actually well paced to keep readers turning the pages.  She can do suspenseful scenes fairly well and her writing style isn’t actually all that bad but the different elements of the plot like the world-building and characters really did sink this novel.  It was a big disappointment and yet I have to say that I didn’t actually ‘hate’ the book.  The little intrigues were well written and with a little work, the characters could have been fantastic.  To be honest, it just felt like the whole book didn’t reach its potential.  Disappointing to be sure, but not a completely unenjoyable book.

I give this book 2/5 stars.

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Suckers by Z. Rider

Suckers by Z. Rider(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

“What we have here is a very high-quality junkie novel that happens to be about a unique case of vampirism.” —Evan Clark, author of Movers

WHEN WORN-OUT MUSICIAN DAN FERRY decides to take a shortcut back to the band’s hotel, he picks the wrong dark alley to go down. Within days of being attacked by a bat-like creature, he becomes consumed with the need to drink human blood. Terrified of what will happen if he doesn’t get his fix–and terrified of what he’ll do to get it–he turns to his best friend and bandmate, Ray Ford, for help. But what the two don’t know as they try to keep Dan’s situation quiet is that the parasite driving Dan’s addiction has the potential to wipe out humankind.

Poignant and terrifying, heartfelt and ingenious, Suckers is a story of sacrifice and friendship in the face of an alien contagion that threatens to destroy humanity.

[Full disclosure: I requested and received a free ebook copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

When I picked up this book I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the blurb.  Would it be a bunch of musicians caught in the middle of a vampire outbreak while on tour?  That’s what it seemed like until things got going.  I was really glad about that because it was a sign of the unpredictable plot that would be the hallmark of this book for me.

I’ve read a lot of vampire books and a lot of general outbreak books but I’ve never read anything like Suckers.  The bat-like creatures that are Z. Rider’s vampires are so unique, so interesting that in a way I wish we could have learned more about them.  However, going into the science of the vampires would have been very unrealistic considering that the main character Dan is just a musician, not a scientist.  He doesn’t know any scientists, he doesn’t have a desire to learn more about his vampire situation other than how to survive it so if Rider had gone in depth into the science it would have ruined the mysterious atmosphere surrounding the creatures.  In that way, the world-building is fantastic.  We’re given enough information to understand things and enough information about the world outside Dan’s little bubble that we know things are bad but it never devolves into an info-dump scenario.  Again, considering the main character’s background, this is far more realistic.

The plot as a result of the aforementioned unique world-building was quite unpredictable.  The world doesn’t immediately go all doomsday, post-apocalyptic everyone out for themselves sort of way.  No, it’s more of a slow decay as the suckers start to infect more and more people before they reach a point where hospitals and emergency services can’t handle the influx of new patients.  It’s not your typical doomsday scenario and as such is actually pretty unpredictable in terms of plot.  In retrospect many of the plot twists make sense because of how the characters were slowly changing throughout the story.  I can honestly say that I didn’t see the end coming but it makes sense when you consider the characters Dan and Ray.

Speaking of characters, I was really impressed with them.  Dan is the main character and is sort of the leader of the band but Ray is sort of the person who keeps it all together.  He takes care of Jamie when Jamie goes back on his drugs, takes care of Dan when his cravings for human blood become insatiable and stays true to himself throughout the novel.  Ray could have become cynical and bitter about having to take care of a lot of people but he never did and even in the face of death he stayed true to his principles.  Dan himself was of course a fascinating narrator as he slowly discovered (to his horror) that he craved blood but I have to say that Ray was definitely my favourite.  All of the characters, both major and minor were well developed so I really can’t complain there.

So here we have a very suspenseful horror story with an interesting new type of vampire, lots of plot twists and really believable characters that you’ll love by the end.  You really can’t ask for anything more and I’m definitely excited to see what Rider decides to do with her talent in the future.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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