I went into this book like a person between jobs, bored of their last venture and not yet ready to dive into anything too serious. I knew exactly what...moreI went into this book like a person between jobs, bored of their last venture and not yet ready to dive into anything too serious. I knew exactly what I was getting myself into and my expectations were appropriately set for mindless entertainment. I know this may seem like a strange thing for some people and I'm sure many would wonder why I decided to read a book I was sure to dislike. The simple explanation would lie somewhere between "Because I felt like it" and "Because I paid for it." But for those of you who aren't as easily pacified, I'll say this: Reading books like this is like inviting your friends over for a night of popcorn, ice cream and really, really terrible horror movies. It takes itself so seriously, that you can't take it seriously. And instead of scaring you, the intentional outcome, it has the reverse effect, providing you and your friends endless fodder for punch lines to new jokes and puns equally as terrible as its source material.
But the moral question, of course, must be considered. Is this fair to the author? And to that I would have to reply in the affirmative and point such cynics in the direction of my Amazon receipt. A Shade of Vampire isn't a book that I would recommend or even one that I could see myself coming back to. It's served it's purpose of being different enough from what I usually read, breaking up the monotony. It entertained me and now I shall entertain you. (Also, spoiler alert.)
Here we go.
There. I've already shot, mangled and killed the Fat Elephant in the room right out the gate. I'm not pulling the "T" card strictly because this book is about vampires and forbidden love. Plenty of other Paranormal Romance books have those qualities and still maintain their independence from the pop culture phenomenon. I bring it up because it's inevitable and follows similar book canon. As such, I created a Choose Your Own Adventure based on A Shade of Vampire.
Choose Your Own Adventure: A Shade of Vampire
1. You're walking through the park alone, feeling down and under appreciated by family and friends. A handsome stranger comes out of nowhere. He's creepy, invades your space and asks you name. You:
A. Tell him your name and force yourself not to run away because you'll show your friends and family! So what if he turns out to be some psycho serial killer. You're 16 and invincible and living on the wild side for once. WHOO-HOOO! YEAH BABY! (Proceed to #2)
B. Run, because he could be some psycho serial killer. (Proceed to #6)
2. Okay, so that was totally not smart and now you're tied up to a post in a basement. Turns out they want to pamper, primp and prime you for this important Vampire Prince. You vow to be smart from now on about your decisions. You are brought before the Prince along with several other girls, made up for the sole purpose of sexual objectification. You're scared and nervous, so you hold one of the other girl's hands. The Prince notices this gesture and singles you out! Oh noz! He slams you against the wall hard, ready to suck you dry. You:
A. Tell yourself you are not the victim here, despite clearly being in a victim-like situation. It's something your Yoda, best friend used to always tell you. So naturally you tell the Prince, who just can't seem to control his thirst even though he really, really wants to, that he is also not a victim. You do all this with a clear head even though Vampire Fangs are breaths away from your throat. Also, you are a Mary Sue. (Proceed to #3)
B. Think about the great life you had and go down fighting like the lion you are. You die. GAME OVER.
3. Whew! Somehow that worked! Who knew your Yoda best friend's advice could come in handy against a Vampire Prince with a tortured past?! As a result, the Prince has taking a liking to you and gives you the plush room right next to his in his pimped out tree house (because where else would a vampire sleep? A coffin? Yeah, right). In fact, he's drawn to you and you to him. But you have to get home, so when the Prince thinks you're sleeping, you:
A. Miraculously find a hoodie and pair of shorts in your closet that's conveniently filled with cocktail dresses, find a way down the treehouse, and make a run for it... all on the same page! Who needs details? You have no idea where you're going, but you'll find a way. You're the heroine after all! (Proceed to #4)
B. Buy out the opportune time. You get to know the Prince and find out as much as you can about the secluded town to help plot your escape. All things come to those who are smart. (Proceed to #6)
4. This was a bad idea. You didn't realize this was an island with no way of escape! WAAAA WAAA! They even have a fence as tall as the wall of China! UGH. Damn Vamps! If only you had attempted to learn more about this place, maybe you could have anticipated this and prepared better. Alas, you are a dunderhead. Oh, no! Here come two guards. You:
A. Think about name-dropping your powerful master's name in the hopes that it'll put fear into their hearts, but you allow yourself to be interrupted because something has to encourage this ridiculous plot along. This is it. Your death is coming. (Proceed to #5)
B. Run. You Die. GAME OVER, silly girl.
5. One of the guards has his fangs in your neck. Just as you are mentally saying goodbye to your life, the Vampire Prince comes out of nowhere and rips you away from the attackers. Then some serious Indiana Jones type shit happens.
You're scared, hurt and mentally cursing yourself for yet another terrible decision. Vampire Prince makes you drink his blood to heal yourself and takes you back to your fancy prison. He tells you never to run away again and that you are his. You:
Fall in love because he seems like a nice guy underneath it all. GAME OVER.
6. Congrats! You're probably not a dunderhead, but will most likely still die because you're playing by cliché YA rules. May the odds be ever in your favor.
The basic plot for A Shade of Vampire is Sofia coming to accept Derek and help heal him. I'm generally not a fan of those type of books because it creates an imbalance in the relationship and breeds co-dependence. The next thing you know the characters are proclaiming their undying love and saying things like they'll never love another or how they can't be without that person. Of course, you also have the fact that Derek wants to EAT Sofia. And somehow after 400 years of not drinking blood, he's able to resist Sofia because she's different.
No other woman -- and believe me when I say that I've been with many -- had the same effect that Sofia Claremont has on me. [...] She'd only recently entered my life, yet it felt like I'd known her for ages.
I've already stopped even thinking about a life that doesn't have Derek Novak in it.
Whether I liked it or not, home had become wherever Derek Novak was.
What made me angry was the not so subtle sexism and slut shaming that went on. Sofia is a member of Prince Derek's harem and other Vamps in the town assume she's sleeping with him, because HAREM, and all that. Sofia is oblivious to this until a member of the Prince's guard says she's doing a good job of pleasing him. And she replies:
"That's not... I would never!" I spluttered. Here I was, a virgin, being rumored to have given the newly awakened prince a pleasurable night in bed. He frowned, an amused glint in the corners of his eyes. "You mean you didn't..." My eyes widened. "No! I'm not that kind of girl..."
Then we have Derek's brother, Lucas, who wants nothing more than to rape and kill Sofia. Every time he showed up in a scene he made these intentions clear. Because it's not enough that he wanted to drink her blood and kill her, he has to want to rape her too.
The lust was unmistakable. He was practically undressing her with those eyes and I could tell that Sofia felt it based on how she sat there tense and unmoving.
But why does Lucas want Sofia so bad? WHAT'S HIS MOTIVATION? Her blood smells good just wasn't a good enough for me. But that brings us to the novel's biggest issue. Regardless of the clichés, A Shade of Vampire could have been decent if the writing had been tighter and not had sentences like this:
I was aware of it all, and yet, I wasn't. It was almost like everything was happening to another person, and yet it was me.
WUT. Let me help you: "It was surreal."
The characters could have also used some development besides the usual descriptions. Sofia is a girl who can do no wrong, a pure virgin, The One to Change Derek, selfless, not used to attention, etc. The only unique thing about her is her Low Latent Inhibition disorder, which basically amounts to nothing more than a really good memory. I kept wondering if it would somehow relate to the plot or have some other use, but it's kinda like Nora's iron pills from Hush, Hush. They serve no other purpose than being present.
(OH. And there just happens to be a witch on the vampire island who also was a psychologist and able to diagnose this disorder. I swear this book was written with an Easy Button.)
The underlying plot with the war between the other covens and Vampire Hunters would have been more interesting if it had more page time instead of just being casually mentioned once or twice. This is certainly not the worst book I've ever read, but I can't really recommend it to anyone either unless you're bored or a huge Twilight/Hush, Hush fan. And even then, this book may be too ridiculous to be true.(less)
EDIT: So the cover is up and I'm actually happy with it. I'm very please Harlequin dropped the model from The Immortal Rules who wasn't Asian and went...more EDIT: So the cover is up and I'm actually happy with it. I'm very please Harlequin dropped the model from The Immortal Rules who wasn't Asian and went in a different direction. It's not my favorite cover in the world, but it's not bad either.
If there is anything good coming from the newer crops of dystopian fiction these days it's one thing: Evil, ravenous vampires are back. With books lik...more If there is anything good coming from the newer crops of dystopian fiction these days it's one thing: Evil, ravenous vampires are back. With books like The Immortal Rules and now The Hunt, YA thiller fans are sure to be pleased by this turn of events. I know I am. Unfortunately, The Hunt failed to WOW me on that factor alone.
In a nutshell, The Hunt is like an inverted Immortal Rules with a Hunger Games-esque twist. Instead of our young, male protagonist, Gene, being the only vampire among humans, he is one of the only humans living in the lion's den. In order to pull this off he must shave off all his body hair, clip his nails, polish his fake fangs, and bathe rigorously every single day. In addition to the intense grooming, he must suppress his basic human mannerisms such as laughing, sweating, singing, flinching, clearing his throat, ect. when in contact with "people." All of this is done because Gene lives in a world where he is considered a "heper," barely a step above a farm animal. In order to survive he has to hide who he truly is or risk being eaten. So when he is chosen for the Heper Hunt (think Hunger Games arena), you can only imagine his uneasiness. "Awkward" is an understatement.
The Hunt has a lot of potential because regardless of how I feel about it I can't deny that it's creative. It features an entirely different spin on vampires that both intrigued me and weirded me out. It's also very readable and easily holds a reader's attention. I also felt myself enjoying Fukuda's prose as well, especially when Gene thought of his past memories of his family. That's the main reason why I ended up giving the book two stars instead of one. But like I said earlier, that alone won't win anyone points with me.
*sigh* I feel like a broken record saying this, but if we are going to write a dystopian novel, please supply some background info. I don't need to know everything under the sun, but I'd at least like to know how your world ended up in its current cesspit state. Is that too much to ask? How did the vampires come to take over the world (literally)? Where did they come from? They managed to eat almost ALL the humans? Why did Gene even bother to try to blend in with vampire society? Why not run away? Have vampires taken over the entire world or did only the U.S. go to hell? Again. Is the rest of the world still partying like it's 1999? Why does Gene know so little about his world? Did the humans - excuse me, hepers - not pass any knowledge of their histories down to their children? So many question, with too few no answers.
I think I hated almost all the characters in The Hunt, but Gene? He takes the number one spot on this here shit list. My biggest issue of the book resides with him because he was an idiot. A very selfish idiot. At the Heper Institute (where the hunters stayed and "trained" for the Heper Hunt) he begins to go thirsty since vampires don't need water, but there was a lake right in front of him the entire time. He talks about it and never thinks to go drink from it when the vampires are sleeping during the day. *facepalm* The plot twist - if you can even call it that - was so easy to guess, but guess who was incredibly shocked? Ding, ding, ding! Gene. And no, this was not a case in dramatic irony because everything that was revealed to the reader, Gene already knew. Hell, he's the one who narrates the story!
But that's not even the half of that. I could deal with a slow main character, but what I couldn't deal with was his "I'm better than these dirty hepers!" attitude. When Gene first arrives to the Heper institute and finds out the heper can talk, read, write, comprehend things, he is blown away. Shocked! This does not compute. I just wanted to yell at him, "YOU ARE A HEPER! If you can bloody do it, uh duh, so can they, genius." But it gets worse. Gene knows the hepers will be hunted, but they don't. Does he tell them? Attempt to help his people? NO. He just goes on business as usual, thinking that once the hepers are sent out to their deaths he can sneak away. That made me so angry. These are your people - perhaps the last humans alive - and you are going to sit and let them be eaten without doing anything about it? No, instead, you drink their water, eat their food and work their deaths into your escape plan. (view spoiler)[Even by the end when Sissy ("Head Heper in Charge") tells him, "We don't abandon our own" all he is thinking about is Ashley June. Not one single shred of remorse for his original plan to lead them to their deaths. Unbelievable. (hide spoiler)] Cast him out of the human race. He is not one of us.
I mean, what did he expect he would do after the Heper Hunt? Go on living in his fake life where he could die at any moment? Who would want that kind of life? That makes not sense. If the world happens to end with vampires devouring humans and I'm left with an idiot like Gene, I'm tripping him as I run from the vamps. And don't get me started on Ashley June. She was just as bad as Gene and can die in a fire for all I care.
The Hunt reminds me a lot of another book I've read called Glimmerglass. Not because they are similar in plot or anything, but because the reader must abandon a certain amount of logic and "just go with it." If anyone is familiar with me, they will know that it takes a lot for a book to convince me to "just go with it."
A list of things Fukuda expected me to buy:
-Vampires only eat bloody meat and can't stomach other foods except for ice cream. Wait, what?
-Gene never got sick from eating raw bloody meat.
-Gene has learned to suppress basic human instincts like smiling, laughing, coughing, squinting, flinching? How the hell is that possible? So what happens when Gene gets sick? He stays home? And what would be his excuse for not being in school? The vampires don't appear to fall ill in this world.
-Sex by armpits? I'm sorry, that one, while creative, was a little too hard to swallow. Or were they making out?
Before she could regain her footing, I shoved my elbow into the socket of her armpit. The way I had read about in books, seen in movies. I had her. Her body tensed in anticipation as my elbow locked into her armpit. And just like that, her body lost all tension and softened. I swiveled my elbow in long, luxurious circles, and her body moved in rhythm. Salivary wetness slivered between and around her snarling teeth. I concentrated hard after that, keeping up with appearances, making sure that the snarls came out in the right fevered pitch, that my body oscillated with enough passion and frenzy.
-Vampires couldn't tell Gene was a heper just because he shaved all his body hair off. Really? He still had hair on his head. Does that somehow smell different than facial, leg and arm hair? If they could smell the hepers in the dome even when they weren't sweaty, then they should have been able to always smell Gene is school.
It left me dangling of the edge of a cliff with three words. *tries to repress a very human sigh* *doesn't work* *LE SIGH*
I'm sure there are a lot of people who will love The Hunt. It's different, interesting, creative and action packed. And while it didn't really work out for me here, I'm tempted to check out book two to see where the story goes. But as I say in the rest of my two star reviews, the next book can hang out on my "You're on Probation" shelf.
ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. Thank you!
More reviews and other fantastical things at my blog Cuddlebuggery Book Blog.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
**This is a review of the 6 page preview provided by the publisher.
Well, ummm, uh, that is to say,
Oh, my. This book took my breath away. Literally. An...more **This is a review of the 6 page preview provided by the publisher.
Well, ummm, uh, that is to say,
Oh, my. This book took my breath away. Literally. And not in the good way. I thought it would be funny in the same way you may laugh at a dog chasing it's tail. But this was just disturbing. I didn't like the artwork at all. It was creepy and the dialog didn't help. The heads of the characters looked a little too big for their bodies too. The preview showed a scene of Zoey and Aphrodite arguing about, what else? A boy. "He was mine first." "No, you broke up with him." "Well, he's mine and you're a hag from hell!" Rinse, lather, repeat.
Ah, Twilight. It seems like everywhere you turn, you can't escape it. The books are everywhere, the franchise has 5 motion pictures, a make-up line, c...more Ah, Twilight. It seems like everywhere you turn, you can't escape it. The books are everywhere, the franchise has 5 motion pictures, a make-up line, clothing, and now graphic novels. What's next? Toilet paper?
Oh, c'mon. Who wouldn't want to wipe their ass with Edward Cullen's face? The only question is: will it leave a trail of sparkles?
So, those three stars you see? Not for the story, but for the artwork. If you want to know what I thought of Twilight...lol...well, you can check out my review here.
BUT I'm going to go ahead and give credit for where it's due: The artwork is stunning. Kim Young did an awesome job bringing the characters to life. Most of the pages are in high gloss, black and white, some consisting of a few colors splashed here and there:
And when you get to the end the last few pages are full color. They are very beautiful!
Ok...That's pretty much all the praise I can force out of my body for anything related to Twilight.
New Moon: The Graphic novel (Stephanie's version):