30 August, 2010

Book Review: The Reformed Vampire Support Group



Title: The Reformed Vampire Support Group
Author: Catherine Jinks
Publisher: Harcourt
Genre: Paranormal
Page Count: 362
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Cover Rating: 3 out of 5. Meh. It's not terrific, since I don't really think of the vampires as looking like that. They're too freakish, while in the the book they're just pale and physically weak. Not that, uh, grotesque. HERE is a cover I like a whole lot better.

Inside flap:


Contrary to popular belief, vampires are not sexy, romantic, or powerful. In case you hadn't noticed, vampires are dead. And the only ones who don't get stakes are the ones who avoid attacking people, admit they have a problem, and join a support group.
   Just as Nina Harrison--fanged at fifteen and still living with her mother. She hasn't aged since 1973, and the highlight of her sickly, couch-bound like is probably her Tuesday-night group meeting, which she spends with a miserable bunch of fellow sufferers, being lectured at.
   But then one of the group is mysterious turned to ashes . . . and suddenly they're all under threat. That's when Nina decides to prove that every vampire on earth isn't a weak, pathetic loser. Along with her friend Dave--a former punk rocker who could be pretty cute, if he weren't such a vampire--she travels way out of her comfort zone to track down the killer.
   It could be that there is a lot more to being a vampire than Nina realized.

My expectations: They were high, since I really, really liked Living Hell and the Evil Genius series. I expected the plot and characters to be well done.

They were.

About the book: Believe me, this is no sparkly-stalker-vamp thing. This is a book that couldn't be more different than The Twilight Saga, and I loved it. 

Nina Harrison, the main character, is a vampire who goes to weekly sessions with Father Ramon, who leads vampires who call themselves The Reformed Vampire Support Group. She's 51 years old, bitten by a vampire when she was 15. The rest of the Group is mixed, with different people from all different places and backgrounds.



This starts out with a murder, so it throws you into a world of vampires immediately--none of that drag-it-out-for-weeks sort of plot that a lot of vampire books have. Casimir--the murdered vampire--is found in his coffin as a pile of ashes, and then they realize that the killer might have found his address book, or another source of personal information that reveals where all the other vampires are. Then they start hunting down anyone who ordered a surprising amount of silver bullets, since one of the Group discovers one of them inside the ash pile.

Plot:


Fast, strong, and complicated. Jinks's plots are always fast, strong, and complicated, and that's one of the main reasons I LOVE HER BOOKS. They keep you guessing, and once the answer's discovered, the endings/resolutions can be pretty wild--in a good way. I loved the ending, although at first it made me pause, but they always grow on me until I'm thinking "Exactly how it should be done!"

Characters:


I loved Nina Harrison. She's so strong when she wants to be, and I liked her attitude. She's also a writer, and--being a writer myself--I enjoyed the writer aspect. Nina is spunky, smart, occasionally stubborn, (well okay, stubborn a lot of the time), and she has her opinions. I really like protagonists with those traits.


Dave Gerace is a good character too. He has his faults of course, but most of the time he's collected, calm, and sticks to certain rules. Loved him too.


Reuben is volatile. Violent. And a werewolf. He's an interesting foil to the vampires who would prefer less violent means, and he does come up with a good plan, I'll give him that.


Father Ramon is a priest, so of course he's full of morality and has a sense of what's right and wrong. Good thing to have, especially if you're in a Support Group. Liked him as a character.


The McKinnons are cruel. Cruel and money-driven, which is what you want in a bad guy(s). There was plenty wrong with these people, and they were believeable. In the evil-person sense.

Setting/Other Factors:


Vampires and werewolves are horribly overused--I don't want to know how many books take off on that original Twilight storyline. THIS book, however, is nothing like Twilight, despite the werewolves and vampires. The plot has no correlation whatsoever, there is action, a little romance, intrigue, danger, plots and counterplots and subplots.


I also liked the Australian aspect. There aren't many books in the library that take place in Australia.

Other: Bad word here and there, but that's the worst of it.

Do I recommend this book? Absolutely!


-----The Golden Eagle

4 comments:

Elana Johnson said...

Dude, I'm adding this to my TBR pile. I'm going to check my library right now. Great review!

The Golden Eagle said...

Thanks! I hope you like it. :)

Icewolf said...

Neatness. A good vampire book! What was Stephanie Meyer thinking anyway when she destroyed the image of vampires and werewolves? Both are cool in their own sense, but if you try to say so now-a-days you get labeled as a 'Twilight Fan'.

The Golden Eagle said...

I know. If you say anything on the verge of "Werewolves rock!" (because they do when they're not idiots and/or jerks) you're "Team Jacob."

Frankly, I'm team "Anti-Twi."