Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks

This is a fascinating, hilarious book. The vampires drink blood, but after that you can drop all the old vampire tropes. These vampires are really quite ill and nauseated most of the time, get their blood from guinea pigs, and only leave their homes to attend their weekly Support Group meetings. Our main character, Nina, has been a vampire for about thirty years since she was fifteen, and still lives with her (now 70-year-old) mother.

Now, throw in a vampire slayer who kills one of the group's members and starts a runaway train of plot weirdness! I hesitate to use the word "intricate" for the plot, but I'm not sure why. It's just sort of magnificently random, and the "barely holding together, and loving it" feel makes it a joy to read. The story is dark and gothic, but the style is hilarious. It's unique.

The characters were very much like real people -- always whining (funny and not annoying in this case), and having no idea how to go about reacting to a plot like this, but hiding a few gems in the ranks. It really felt like what might happen if a bunch of real people were attacked. And, like real people, the more you get to know them the more fun they are, and that applies to every single character.

What we have here is a case of everything going right, all the narrative devices coming together and working well. Making something that's new and great, but doesn't make a big deal out of itself. If there's one thing I hate it's a story that's trying too hard to be cool, and this is definitely not one of those.

Support Group just came out last April, but Catherine Jinks has written a lot more books than I expected so there's plenty to look into. There's a planned sequel, The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group, but no release date on that as of yet... I recommend Sucks to Be Me for fans of this.

Buy The Reformed Vampire Support Group

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