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Posts tagged ‘Vampires’

There is nothing better than a Slayer.

So I have always loved me some vampire slaying action.  Since Buffy showed up when I was in middle school, I have loved the idea that there is someone out there destroying these devious creatures of the night.  I like my blood exactly where it is thank you very much!  So last night, when I was home alone and totally vulnerable to vampire attack, I decided to read a book about a vampire slayer, in the hopes of deterring any blood-sucking demons hoping to leap through my windows.  Since I was not attack by a vampire, I am going to say that it was successful!

The wonderful Heather Brewer decided that she could not just leave the world of Vladimir Tod without giving us Joss’s side of the story. The Slayer Chronicles: First Kill takes us back to the beginnings of Joss McMillan’s journey toward becoming a full-fledged slayer.  The road is not always easy, but Joss takes on the deadly task of becoming a vampire slayer to avenge the death of his beloved younger sister, Cecile.  Joss saw Cecile being drained by a vampire at the tender age of ten, and since then has been training towards killing the monster that took her from him.  Through his hard work and dedication, it looks like Joss may have a shot at becoming the most awesome slayer of them all.  That is if he can keep the other slayers from turning on each other.  And if he could just stop asking questions about exactly why the slayers are doing what they do…

Ms. Brewer weaves another fascinating tale, and this one all about slayers.  It takes some getting used to, especially after reading all of the Vladimir Tod books and knowing how vampires interact with one another and the world at large.  Beyond Joss, you are hard pressed to find a slayer who does not believe that they are fighting soulless evil monsters who are things rather than people.  That being said, the interactions, albeit brief, between Joss and the vampires have amazing potential.  The slayers are pretty two dimensional, but we are introduced to eight or so at one time, and they all just seem to be about the killing.  It is a promising start for what will undoubtedly be another amazing series by Heather.  Wing by the library to pick it up!

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Two Janes, Two Very Different Stories

This weekend was a hot pink weekend.  I have always felt that some days are best described by colors, and this weekend was totally hot pink.  It was exciting and dangerous and slightly edgy, which are all qualities that Hot Pink embodies.  It just so happened that during this Hot Pink weekend, I read two books, which coincidentally had Hot Pink covers, and main characters named Jane.  And while one was a vampire and one lived on Coney Island, they did have one thing in common, they are both freaks.

Jane Jones has not always been called Jane Jones.  She originally was Josephine.  But when you family are a bunch of vampires, moving around from town to town is part of the package.  Now Jane can walk out in the sun, see her reflection, eat garlic and she most certainly does not sparkle.  She would be a pretty typical vampire too, if it were not for the itty-bitty problem of her blood intolerance.  So Jane is a vampire who cannot suck blood.  A freak among undead freaks.  Thanks to the Internet, Jane stumbles upon a man who claims he has a cure for vampirism.  Jane wants that cure more than anything, and so does Timothy, a handsome vampire who has spent most of his undead life wandering alone.  He wants to get the cure for Jane and himself so they can live their lives together.  Except Jane is now faced with a teacher who knows more about her past than she’s comfortable with, some startling familial revelations, and a human boy named Eli who has taken a liking to her.  With all of this excitement, what is a vampire girl to do?

Jane Jones: Worst. Vampire. Ever. by Caissie St. Onge is one remarkable vampire book.  And this is coming from a lady who feels that vampire books are played out at the moment.  Caissie has developed a great character in Jane, managing to convey life if you had to live as if you were 16 for the rest of your life.  Her popular vampires are a little 2-D and not has fleshed out, and the reason for hating Jane seems ill-explained, but it works to make a convincing problem for Jane to have to deal with.  Reading about two vampire girls fighting it out over a human boy was also quite hilarious and refreshing.  The romance in this book is low-key and natural, no one true loves, no eternities with your soul mate, just a straightforward high school crush, which was realistically portrayed and a joy to read.  Jane was a heroine I could see myself reading more about, not just for her, but for her family as well.  More books about them navigating the complexities of modern day vampires would be a welcome addition to the world of badly written vampire drivel.

Our next Jane has the same problem our first Jane has, the constant moving from place to place.  She has been all over the world with her family, following the career of her father, a roller coaster designer.  He has not been much of a roller coaster designer since her mother died, but he has kept the family travelling as a structural engineer.  Now that her Grandfather has died, they are headed back to the states for a year to settle things at his house on Coney Island.  Jane had never met her grandfather, nor does she really know anything about her mother’s side of the family.  Imagine her surprise when she finds out that her grandparents were sideshow freaks in the early days of Coney Island, her mother was really trying to be a mermaid, and most of her childhood games were based upon old rides on Coney Island.  Jane is trying to figure out the mystery of her maternal family, the mystery of the Dreamland Social Club at school, the mystery of Leo’s strikingly familiar tattoo, and the mystery of who she really is.  That is a lot of mystery for one girl, but Jane is ready to figure out if Coney Island is a place where she belongs, and why her mother kept running away from it.

I will confess, I lived in New York City for a while.  My sister lived near Coney Island, and I would go out to see her.  Dreamland social club by Tara Altebrando paints the picture of Coney Island so vividly I got homesick.  Every character she introduces you too has the right amount of backstory for their importance to the plot.  Everyone is fleshed out and has a place, you feel like you are there in that high school, no matter how odd it may seem.  The mysteries and law-breaking that happens are written beautifully and believably, so I never at any point went, “there is no way two kids could do that.”  The relationships between Jane and other characters are stunningly done.  Jane and Marcus have some of the best brother sister interaction that I have ever read, and the buildup between Jane and Leo is nicely done.  I hope Tara Altebrando keeps writing more, because this book impressed me more than anything I have read in a long time.

It’s a Creature Triple Feature!

We interrupt the newly created Time Travel Tuesday to bring you a breaking story:

ZOMBIES!  VAMPIRES!  UNICORNS!

That’s right loyal readers; today we have got a triple threat!  Two new books, ready and waiting for you at the Tucker Free Library.  Why the triple threat for only two books you ask?  Because while one book only features Vampires, the second book has both Unicorns and Zombies!  But first, let us discuss the vampires.

In the long awaited finale to the much loved Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, Twelfth Grade Kills is an amazing adventure that should definitely satisfy.  After the cliff-hanger of an ending that was the fourth book, I have been on pins and needles waiting for the action to continue and explanations to be given.  All I have to say is that Ms. Brewer did not let me down, in fact, she even raised the stakes (First vampire pun of the review!).  Not that I expect my books to be wrapped up in a neat little bow, with everyone getting a happy ending, but all the questions you would want answered are answered, and in a way that makes sense.

The pacing of this book is phenomenal, and I would highly advise that when you read it, you read it when you have a large chunk of time on your hands.  It was all I could do to put the book down, I am even guilty of sneaking reads of it during work, but keep that info on the down low.  Brewer’s characters are just so rich, well-written and compelling that it makes it easy to become swept up and involved in their affairs.  I also like my vampires to have bite, and these vampires definitely are ones I can sink my teeth into (I do believe I may be up to three vampire puns by now).  Still essentially human, with the right amount of animalistic bloodlust, plus a secret society that makes sense?  Kudos Ms. Brewer, for managing to breathe life into a subject that runs the risk of being played out and run into the ground (Four!).

Definitely a must read if you have read the rest of the series.  This series is also worth checking out if you like characters that overcome insurmountable odds, love a well written fight scene, or like your romance to be more angst ridden than lovey-dovey.  This book will please you; I’ll stake my life on it (Five! Five vampire puns, ah, ah, ah!).

In the eternal debate between Zombies VS. Unicorns, you know what side I’m on.  It should be obvious from my passion for skulls, b-rated horror movies and horse back riding that all this librarian wants in her life is a Zombie Unicorn.  Best of both worlds, I can ride my undead mythical beast to work and no one would steal him because all he wants to do is eat brains.  But for those of you who feel compelled to decided, this book gives you a chance to read a choice selection of stories from some of the most well-known names in the Young Adult field.  Libba Bray ring a bell?  How about Meg Cabot?  And we cannot forget to mention Garth Nix and Cassandra Clare!  All these authors have joined forces, either with team Unicorn or Team Zombie, and have put pen to paper to come up with some of the most fantastic stories touting the superiority of their chosen creature.  There is a little something for everyone in this collection, be you a reader of heavy, gritty, unicorn gore or a connoisseur of light hearted zombie romance.  Each story is a delicious chunk of creative goodness, and as a bonus, you get a taste of each authors style and perspective.  Conveniently, the Tucker Free has many of these same authors’ books, so if you like what you read, there is more to devour.  There is too much to say about this book and not enough space for me to sing its praises.  I promise that by the end of this book you will have either sided with Team Unicorn, Team Zombie or Team They Are Both Awesome.  From this librarian’s perspective, that is a win-win situation.

Go Team Zombie Unicorn!