I refrained from giving a review until now, which has its positives and negatives. Now, I'm in a position to give a full-series review, but I've also...moreI refrained from giving a review until now, which has its positives and negatives. Now, I'm in a position to give a full-series review, but I've also failed fantastically to retain details from the previous novels. So, I feel the need to put that disclaimer here before jumping into the review.
For the most part, I did enjoy the Vlad Tod series. It was light reading, fun and entertaining and definitely something that fit the category of "vampire brain candy" for me. The concept was pretty original: a vampire coming-of-age story in a time when a lot of vampire fiction is romance-driven. There was romance in the series, but there was also a decent balance of other things as well. Brewer completely immersed her world in all things vampire, from the names of the characters, to the naming of the towns, etc., and as a fan of the vampire genre, it was really neat to read a name and know where it came from.
However, I felt that everything about the books fell short of realizing its actual potential. Characters, storytelling, world-building, dynamics, plot--all were executed so that I felt as if I were standing ankle-deep in water that I wanted to be swimming in. Brewer just grazed the surface of things I wanted her to describe in more detail. Some emotional conflicts were barreled through in one or two pages, while others were dragged out several chapters. Characters were undeveloped, and at times I felt the characterization was a bit erratic. I don't feel like Vlad ever grew as a character in spite of everything he went through; like other reviewers have said, he always left the impression of being the same age and maturity level he was at the very beginning of the series. Also, a lot of the more interesting character dynamics remained unexplored. For me, the interaction between Vlad and Henry had such great potential to be multi-layered and fascinating. Their friendship, compounded by the power difference in the master-drudge relationship, and then built on by their tendency to run in different social circles for most of the series, was great ground for exploration. Sadly, Brewer didn't work with them as much as I would have liked to see, but that's just a personal preference. Instead, we got the development of a couple of romances that, like other aspects of the novels, weren't developed enough. All throughout, there was a lot of telling and not enough showing.
In conclusion, although this series was somewhat lacking in execution, it still had a great concept and was fun and entertaining. In spite of its flaws, it manages to be truly enjoyable, and I plan to collect the series.(less)
A young adult novel set in a post-zombie apocalypse world, Rot and Ruin focuses around a teenager named Benny Imura as he struggles to find his place...moreA young adult novel set in a post-zombie apocalypse world, Rot and Ruin focuses around a teenager named Benny Imura as he struggles to find his place in a world filled with monsters, both zombie and human alike.
I really enjoyed this book. Any fan of The Walking Dead will appreciate the thematic similarities, mainly the brutality that arises in human beings in a world dominated by the dead. Throw in the theme of brotherhood, badasses with katanas, and a little bit of love, and you have a strong first novel written by an author who knows just how much and what to tease of what the world has to offer in future novels.(less)