For some reason, I had high expectations about this book and I assumed I'd love it. But, that really wasn't the case after reading it. (I need to stopFor some reason, I had high expectations about this book and I assumed I'd love it. But, that really wasn't the case after reading it. (I need to stop having high expectations!) It is a well-written story, and I think perfectly targeted for its intended Middle Grade audience. It's plenty safe reading material for children, but, isn't particularly original.
I figured I'd love a story about an adolescent teen vampire who has to learn to hide his true identity from most everyone in his small hometown, but I suppose I just didn't find Vladimir as endearing as I had hoped I would. Not that there's anything bothersome about him, but there isn't much making him stand out above the crowd of male teen vamps that has him shouting, “Hey! Check ME out! I'm totally different from those other emo boys.”
For the record, Vladimir isn't “emo.” Just a very normal thirteen-year-old boy, excluding the fangs, of course. He has to deal with bullies in school and has some triumphant moments over them, using his unique vampire abilities. He has a crush on a certain girl at school, but suffers from the typical shyness and insecurities found in most human teen boys. But, he has to hide the capsules of blood in his lunch that his aunt packs for him everyday.
This is a good story—just nothing new. Vampires live amongst the unknowing humans in their world, the humans only knowing of them via cultural superstition. The vamps have their own secret organization which is something akin to a cult, and they seek to punish members of their own organization who break the rules by execution. It's intriguing stuff and a young audience unfamiliar with this trope may suck it up like a vampire dying from his thirst for blood. If that's you or some youngster you know, then you should give this series a try. It's fun for kids....more
* Plot: Things definitely happen, although, perhaps timed a little off what they should be. Blair is a high school girl whose friends have all just gr* Plot: Things definitely happen, although, perhaps timed a little off what they should be. Blair is a high school girl whose friends have all just graduated from high school, except she still has another year left. Everyone else is going through major life changes, especially when they all encounter a creature that appears to not be of this world. Her old friend Everett ends up being the most affected by this creature, and thus changes the most, and also makes some drastic changes to his future post-high school plans.
* Characters: Blair is a cute country girl from an inconsequential town in east Texas. Her brother, her grandfather, and her other male friends are so convincingly southern men—it's a hoot! I like Everett the best because he is different from everybody else, a nerd-boy who loves bugs and running into daunting situations head first without fear. He is super cute and I like that he gets to play the main hero character—not some popular jock boy. Although, he ends up going through some serious changes that left me, like Blair, a bit uncomfortable because I really liked Everett as the goofy, clumsy, silly guy.
* Writing: It's simple and effective. Nothing artful, but definitely decent. The southern YA voice was also really well done.
* Storytelling: I think the story could have benefited from starting a bit sooner. There is some back-story for a little while before anything important happens to start the plot. But, it does the job of helping us to get to know the characters. I really like the ambiance of the slow, hot, humid summer on an east Texas ranch, with cicadas whining and fireflies floating around under a blanket of twinkling stars. Very relaxing. It was easy to hear the characters speaking with their southern drawls. I love Blair's mother's rhymes as she spoke in rhymes all the time. It was quaint and sweet. “My Blair with the dark brown hair,” things like that. It seems accurate as to what I know of real people from that region, particularly mothers.
* Overall Quality: Pretty decent and very compelling in parts. I would have liked more information on the inhuman element in the story and why it was around them, why it had been hiding for several years, where it came from, who were its enemies, and how all of that tied into the death of Blair's father and brother (which had already happened prior to the story). I like when I'm more in-the-know than not, but it doesn't mean it's a flaw, as it's so common in literature these days to keep things uber mysterious. Everett was such a neat character, in my personal estimation, he made me want to keep on reading, especially to see where his relationship with Blair would go.
* Favorite Moment/Scene: When the non-human life form Blair and her friends had discovered started to emerge from its pod. I thought Everett's reaction upon seeing it was very interesting and memorable. (He kind of freaked out!) What the life form resembled was also pretty shocking.
* My Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
*I received this title as a complementary copy in exchange for my honest review....more