I’m not a fan of vampire novels. Twilight created an influx of vampire stories and, while each is special in its own way, I’ve grown tired of blood-suckers. This book is completely different. It stands next to Anne Rice, all-time writer of vampire fiction, and holds its own.
The story is written as a letter to the woman he loves, talking about the present and the past. After decades together, Light has watched the all-too-human love of his life wither and grow old. Her dementia adds a devastating aspect to the story, but is far from the only soul wrenching part of the book.
A large portion of the story is dedicated to his life with his Author, in other words maker, Ruby, the red-haired devil. She introduces him to Blood Life when he is on the way out from his First Life. Immediately drawn in by the connection of creator and creation, he cannot separate himself from her and they spend over a hundred years together, wreaking havoc and killing indiscriminately. It isn’t until the late 1960’s that he sees another side to Ruby. She is controlling and punishing, then she forces him to live with their “family”, brothers from the same vampire lineage. This change alters everything about their lives. No longer is she his angel and savior; she becomes the one who holds him back.
In walks the incredible Kathy. From the get-go she is a strong, hard-headed character who is easy to love. She’s a perfect counterpoint to Light, our hero who continually comments on his lack of hero status, all the while performing acts that require bravery. By the time the story begins, he is a man looking to live a life in harmony with humans, not as a selfish vampire who believes he is worthy of worship. I fell in love with him right away. He’s entertaining and brutally honest. His insight into human nature is astounding and forced me to open my eyes and honestly look at our ideas and behaviors. Overall, the book is a tremendous observation of humanity. This is why Kathy is so important to Light. She stands for all that is good with humans: honesty, loyalty, independence, strength, and the basic need for love. She accepts and loves Light for all that he is, even though he has committed atrocious acts. That is why they were able to make a happy life together, even though she grew old while he remained eternally young.
The story has a vocabulary all its own. The novel originates from the UK and has a thick accent, but the unique vernacular creates a fantastic setting that is unlike anything else I have ever read. It took a few chapters to fall into the groove, but before I knew it I was reading it with the accent flowing smoothly in my imagination. For the majority, I do not care for stories that fluctuate constantly in time, but this book handled it flawlessly. At times I could not wait to return to the era that I had just been diving into, but it was so fast-paced that I was back to the 1960’s before I knew it, a hundred years passing in less than half an hour. This is the first story in a very long time that strikes me as perfect. At no point did I find myself floundering or distracted.
For the rating:
- Genre and general reading age – Fantasy for adults and possibly older teens.
- Level of sexuality – There are references to it, in some new and exciting verbage, but it is light and the deed is never spoken of in detail.
- Is there graphic language? Not that I noticed.
- Did I cry? I didn’t, but there were many moments that made my heart hurt.
- Did I laugh? Not really, but Light is extremely entertaining and a joy to read.
- Is this part of a series? Yes, it is book one of the Rebel Vampire Series.
- Level of character development – The characters are amazingly well-written. It is easy to fall into the arms of Light with his open and endearing storytelling. Ruby is an evil being that you love to hate. Kathy is the heart-warming bridge to the human world for Light. Even the other vampires are so well-done that they are easily envisioned and each forms a tight emotional tie to the reader.
This is one of the finest vampire novels I have ever read. The pages flew by and I cannot wait until I can delve into book two. I suggest this to readers of all genres; this is not just a vampire tale. This is a real look at human nature and the first-person view of a man’s honest introspection into his life as a vampire and his desire to be part of the human world. I am thrilled to give this book ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ shiny stars.