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A Subtle Agency: The Metaframe War: Book 1 Kindle Edition
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So, it’s pretty cool when you come across something new.
Graeme Rodaughan has taken a look at extremely long-lived critters and wondered what they’d really do if they existed. The answer, of course, is consolidate power and lurk in the shadows. Rodaughan’s vampires are less romantic mopers or mindless monsters and more Machiavellian creatures. Don’t think Twilight, think more along the lines of Game of Thrones or House of Cards with a hint of Doc Savage thrown in for good measure.
I did find Anton, one of the main characters somewhat annoying, but I suspect this was a deliberate characterisation by the author. Anton's hidden antagonist is well developed and interesting, and I'm looking forward to seeing how things pan out with her in the next book. I suspect this will be a series full of twists and turns, and that there are things we have yet to discover about the characters and the world Graeme Rodaughan has built around them.
If you're wondering about the paranormal part - it's vampires, but not sparkly ones. They're a whole different breed from the sparklers of recent popularity. (Thankfully from my point of view.)
If you're a reader who enjoys action scenes, and stories with a paranormal twist and a touch of conspiracy, then check this one out. I plan to read on and find out what happens.
The outstanding feature here is the action sequences. They’re very visual, well-planned and choreographed and play out like a slow-mo-John-Woo-homage. You can actually see it all clearly as it happens on the page/e-reader screen. The plot, too, gets a thumbs up for bringing vampires into the ultra-modern era, with high-tech weapons and surveillance systems to make some governments weep with jealousy. And of all the vampire origin stories in popular fiction, I personally haven’t come across one that all began with a machine.*
However, the book does suffer from awkward prose, run-on sentences and clunky introspection, which didn’t help me connect to the characters. A lot of the backstory and character histories felt like info-dumps and had it all just happened organically and a bit more smoothly, would have increased my enjoyment. Character-wise, there were no great surprises—the simple guy who just requires a tragic experience to learn he’s extraordinary; the sweet yet kick-ass girl-next-door; the venerable elder (who also happens to be Asian); and the baddie who never makes a mistake until that single, nearly fatal one at the end. The archetypes aren’t a real issue, but if they’d been portrayed a little more subtly they wouldn’t have stood out. Lastly, it could also have used one or two more passes to clean up the stylistic problems.
Overall, a quick, easy read with a few issues I’m certain will be smoothed over in coming books.
* disclaimer – that I remember, at least.
It was pretty cool.
The novel is paced well and the main characters are interesting and well-drawn. Rodaughan manages to make a secret vampire society hiding in plain sight among New Yorkers seem plausible. I particularly liked Chloe Armitage, the female vampire badass.
As I was reading the story, I couldn’t help but think it should be a movie. One you should see in 3D. Maybe by Marvel Pictures. It has all of the summer blockbuster elements: centuries old arch enemies, secret organizations, sword-wielding super humans, helicopters, drones, machines of unspeakable power, and most of all, action. Through the entire book I had an almost uncontrollable urge to eat popcorn. Go figure.
My only real critique would be that there were a couple of parts where things seemed to come a little too easily to the protagonist. This, of course, is completely subjective. Regardless, it’s a solid first effort, and if you’re a fan of vampires and suspense thrillers, this book shouldn’t disappoint you.
I look forward to finding out how things unfold in the second installment of the series.
Most recent customer reviews
Just finished reading “A Subtle Agency: The Metaframe War, Book One” by Graeme Rodaughan. Oh my, oh my and wow.Read more
I've always liked vampire stories, since I read Dracula, the first of a long series...Read more