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Thursday, 10 February 2011

Vamps and the City

Parajunkee's View Vampire Reading Challenge, review #1 - Vamps and the City by Kerrelyn Sparks

Warning: contains spoilers.

For this challenge (click for a re-cap), I'm hoping to read a variety of styles of vamp books, ranging from gritty urban fantasy, spine-tingling horror, fluffy YA novels and, well, paranormal romance. Personally, I look at paranormal romance as 'chick lit for Goths'. And just as not every woman likes chick lit, not every Goth, even the vampire-loving ones, enjoys the innuendo-filled, intellectually fluffy world of paranormal romance.

I happened across Vamps and the City by chance in a box of books my dad was intending to sell - spotting the bats on the cover, I picked it up immediately. Apparently it's the second book in the Love at Stake series, but I didn't have any problems reading it as a stand-alone.

Our heroine is reluctant vampire Darcy Newhart, struggling to make it as an independent-minded modern woman in the sexist society of Vamps, where vampire females live in harems and must obey the wishes of their Master. Her ex-master is marrying a mortal *gasp, shock, horror*, leaving Darcy and the rest of his harem to fend for themselves. As the only member of the mismatched group able to think for herself, Darcy is now saddled with looking after the snooty, self-obsessed ladies of the harem.

A successful reporter during her mortal life, Darcy knows she can make it big in her new life if only she can get a job with DVN, the vampire TV channel. However, the male boss at DVN is a chauvinist arse who is not exactly willing to let a woman call the shots. Darcy must come up with a new, exciting idea for a show to prove herself.

The Sexiest Man on Earth is the resulting stroke of genius - a reality show where mortals compete against vampires to win the multi-million-dollar prize money and become the new master of the vampire harem. But not everyone is happy with the possibility of a mortal taking charge of the coven; oh, and some of said 'mortals' on the show are undercover CIA agents and trained vampire slayers, which, let's face it, is a recipe for disaster.

Especially when - yep, you guessed it - one of the CIA's undercover operatives steals Darcy's heart...

OK, so any book entitled 'Vamps and the City' is not going to give good ol' Will Shakespeare a run for his money, but it is a good fun, light-hearted, entertaining read, perfect for reading in bed without running the slightest risk of scaring oneself silly.

The vampire society is interesting; divided into two factions, the community-minded, non-people-eating Vamps, like Darcy and her crew, and the Malcontents, who are basically a rapacious, vicious bunch of bastards. The vampire-staking division of the CIA, unfortunately, is unaware of this distinction. I also enjoyed the notion of the vamp harems, although I found it hard to believe that vampires would be able to live unnoticed amongst humans whilst running their own TV channel, and with the female vampires insisting on dressing and behaving according to the fashions and customs of the century in which they were born.

I also struggled to get to grips with the members of the vamp harem as characters - they are undoubtedly entertaining, but considering they are centuries old they struck me as childish, and some of them, such as sex-obsessed, purple-haired Vanda, were not very well-developed and painfully two-dimensional.

The love story between Darcy and undercover agent Austin is sweet, and I certainly found myself rooting for them to get together, but it's pretty standard romance fare, without any huge surprises and the obvious guarantee of a happy ending (which, I might add, is not necessarily a complaint). Although, Darcy's reverse transformation into a live human was quite unlikely and had a definite air of deus ex machina about it.

Altogether, I would give this book a rating of 3/5 - I did stay up until one in the morning reading it, it definitely made me smile and kept me interested; but the plot is a little obvious and some of the characters were only a step or two up from cardboard cut-outs.
Source: Google Images
In other news, I spent this morning working hard(ish) on my make-up studies (BTEC Level 2 Make-Up, if that means anything to anyone) at Bronwyn's house (we're doing the same course). Here is a slightly odd picture of me with Bron's family's adopted small ginger elephant. Otherwise known as Charlie the Incredibly Large Cat.
Yes, my contact lens is squiffy. That one always moves around - I don't know why.
Also, Charlie is not amused.
Listening to: Once in a Lifetime - Wolfsheim

6 comments:

Serifina said...

Looks interesting...I'll check out the first book in the series if I have time...but I don't really like books with characters you can't connect with...the vampire to human transformation seems quite original though...

Emily Lynn G. said...

The characters do sound a little flat... But I love your contact lenses :D Meow! May I suggest Christopher Pike's The Last Vampire series (or "Thirst", as its been renamed) its a vamp book and one that isn't as well known as Anne Rice's books. (but those are great to!)

Boots said...

I think you may have astigmatism in one eye. I believe I do as well, only began to notice once I got a pair of contacts myself. But eh, you should be fine :) Nonetheless, you and the cat make a fine pair!

Anonymous said...

Cool contacts! You should check your last.fm messages :)

ultimategothguide said...

Emily Lynn - thanks for the recommendation, I did try one of Christopher Pike's books a while back and wasn't fond of his style, but I shall give them another go. =)

Boots - thanks for the heads-up, I will definitely mention this at my next eye test. Thanks ^^

Anonymous - thanks, and will do =D

Nox Artemis said...

I always thought of paranormal romances as the harlequin romance novels for Goths too. I was totally into them a fews years back, especially this one series by Christine Feehan called the Carpathian Dark series. Then I just started to find romantic love novels as stupid, unrealistic, and kind of disturbing (I know that the whole point of these novels is to throw the reader into a fantasy, but I would not go for the guys present as the "male protagonists" in real life)....

To be more objective, I just like stories were the plot revolves around an actual goal instead of love and sex. :P So I tone down on the paranormal romance, mostly avoiding them altogether, but I might consider looking into the book you recommended Amy - just for guilty pleasures. :)

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