Monday, May 7, 2007

Kind of cute but unexceptional

This is a young adult vampire novel, and it's supposed to be light and funny, and sometimes it is, but for the most part it left me feeling underwhelmed. The premise is promising - an American girl is dragged off by her Wicca/witch mother to Europe be part of a traveling "Gothfaire," a sort of carnival of mystical, magical performers. Fran goes kicking and screaming, hating being a part of this group of weirdos, dreaming, as only heroines of young adult novels can, of fitting in. That is, she goes on and on about how humiliating it is not to fit in, about how she hates her own special ability and wishes she didn't have it. She is a psychometrist - she gets psychic impressions from touching people and inanimate objects, and she hates this. It is never clear why, because it is a handy skill to have - evidently it doesn't go with being considered "normal."

She meets the hottest vampire ever, and she is overly intent on proving to him that she is strong and can take care of herself. This attitude is so at odds with her fitting in obsession, which frankly never felt terribly believable - mainly because she is so open and accepting of everyone else's differences and seems to be enjoying her new life and friends (despite her constant protestations to the contrary). Someone who is that strong and stubborn, it seemed to me, wouldn't be so wimpy about her own special skills. I felt I never got a handle on her character - it seemed to change with the needs of the narrative - and I also felt that the whole Gothfaire setting could have been put to much better use. The setting might as well have been a school or summer camp. I'm a firm believer that if a story involves the supernatural, it shouldn't just be window dressing. You could remove every last supernatural element from this story (make the sexy vampire a sexy college kid, for example), and the plot wouldn't change much at all.

This book might have been less disappointing had I not read it on the heels of Christopher Moore's Bloodsucking Fiends. I'm still waiting for the sequel to come into the library. Sigh.

Got Fangs? Confessions of a Vampire's Girlfriend by Katie Maxwell (Dorchester Publishing, 2005)

2 comments:

  1. Virginia GalMay 09, 2007

    Doesn't sound like something I would enjoy.

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  2. Not at all - I wouldn't recommend it to you, VA Gal! Die-hard vampire novel enthusiasts, yes. But other than that, I'd give this one a miss.

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