Parajunkee's View Vampire Challenge, Review #11 - Bloodlust & Initiation by Alex Duval (Vampire Beach)
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Maybe she's born with it. Maybe it's... vampirism.
Also, my lips don't glow. Do yours?
First appearances aside, I thought these books were brilliant! Please don't blame Alex Duval for his publisher's strange choice of probably the cheesiest paragraph in both books to put on the back cover. Bloodlust is addictive (pun intended) from the get-go; not only is this the first vamp romance with a male protagonist that I've read, but it actually works. Our hero Jason may be a little slow on the uptake, but he's a genuine sweetie, a fun, interesting character with an active set of morals - I've never before read a male protag who's so well balanced.
In fact, let me rave about this for a minute. Jason is cute, we get that, but he's neither arrogant nor irritatingly modest. He has morals, but actually knows how to have a good time and isn't boringly righteous. He's brave but not a total reckless idiot. I would have read both these books on the strength of Jason alone, because it was so refreshing to read a male character that I could relate to! A lot of male protags are not written in a well-balanced way, and as such I find them relentlessly irritating.
Mr. Duval also did well in creating little sister Danielle. Show me another book with a non-irritating little sister and male protag combo. Exactly.
Jason and Danielle have just moved to Malibu, which is probably the last place on earth you'd expect to find a coven of vampires. In Bloodlust, Jason discovers that having a crush on another guy's girlfriend is an even bigger problem if said couple are for-real vampires. As if stumbling across Real Life Vampires wasn't enough of a shocker, someone in this do-gooding veggie community of beach-loving vampires has turned killer. Yikes.
In Initiation, Jason's druggie friend Tyler is on the run from a big bad drug dealer, and thinks that stealing from rich kids would be a good way to pay off his debts. Except, said rich kids are, as we know, vampires, and Jason ends up having to protect Tyler from a vamp cartel as well as the big bad drug dealer. And Jason finds out that he has an evil vampire aunt.
Despite the fluffy premise of a vampire coven living in Mali, this series is surprisingly gritty. OK, it's not Stephen King, but we have corpses, drug addictions, and betrayals galore, which makes for fast-paced reading - I'm not ashamed to say that I plowed through these. It's like 90210 with vampires, which definitely won't appeal to every Goth palate, but as a closet 90210 fan, I can't deny I was hooked.