Top positive review
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More fun than is legal in most states
on May 12, 2013
Like many reviewers here, I bought this book after reading the first chapter from Justine Larbalestier's blog. True confessions time: I'm a writer and a reader, and the multiple vampire-story references hooked me, as well as the fact that Larbalestier and her co-author Sarah Rees Brennan stood on opposite sides of the Vampire Question. I wanted to see how all of this would play out, especially I'd just finished writing a story with a similar premise. In short: skeptical best friend of vampire-obsessed girl tries to do something about her friend's apparently unhealthy relationship.
Take the same premise and two writers, and you'll get fifteen variations. I adored this novel, and as a snarky sort myself, I felt like Mel was my long-lost baby sister. One thing I should note about Larbalestier (having since read a number of her other stories) is that she writes multicultural characters, and not in a token way either. For once, the publisher didn't white-wash a main character who isn't European-descended, and the choice of models really worked well; I actually pictured these folks in the movie that unrolled in my head as I read.
(Oh yeah, and I'd totally pay money to go see the movie, if they didn't butcher the casting by making everybody white.)
Hilarious dialogue, and really skillful interweaving of the dark, the comedic, and the heart-breaking. One thing I particularly liked in the world-building here was the subjective experience of vampires, who live in a sort of half-world (yes, I'm trying to avoid the word 'twilight,' even though that's what first comes to mind). The transition to vampire is not risk-free either, so even though vampires have become part of mainstream society, there are very strict discussions of the consent involved. One either becomes a vampire or goes zombie; this cranks the horror aspect a notch higher. It's unconstitutional to write vampires without reference to horror, and this story does not disappoint.
Reader-self had a marvelous time, did not regret buying the hardback edition, and has been word-of-mouth recommending this one to anybody who likes vampires, comedy, vampire comedy, stories with snarky hilarious romance, or well, just good stories.
Writer-self walked away with a whole pile of shiny new ideas, including what sort of people would enjoy 'life' ('unlife'? 'undeath'?) as a vampire.
Twilight was a game-changer for the vampire genre, and this novel stands out as an example of how to deal with the aftermath of The Sparkly Ones, while tipping the hat to all the vamps that went before and what makes the undead so freaking scary.