Vampire Fiction – Again

May 25, 2010 at 6:37 am (Feature, fiction) (, , , , , , , , , , )


I’ve been reading a little bit lately.  actually I’ve read more books this last week than I had the entire month previous so I should probably amend that statement. Most recently I’ve been reading YA lit, mostly because I’ve been trying to evaluate texts for use in  the classroom.  This means I’ve been reading a wide range of genres and styles and there are some really strange books out there (also some brilliant ones).

One book that I originally cringed at the thought of reading was Tamara Summers “Never Bite a Boy on the First Date”.  I immediately assumed it would be a bad retelling of Twilight and I’d spend a week reading a single page at a time before finally deciding I just couldn’t read anymore. Yet the cover kind of intrigued me.

Despite my trepidation, I bought this book.  Why? Because I read the first page. Not the prologue but the first page of chapter one. And I nearly fell over laughing while standing in the book store. Not because it was bad, but because it was really quite amusing and the narrator used understatement so well I just couldn’t help but laugh. Once I recovered from my fit of giggles, I read a few more pages and then I bought the book.

It is a very modern vampire story. The narrator is a sixteen year old, newly made vampire, with an interesting personality that is well expressed in her green hair, multiple-piercings and her general ability to forget about the murdered corpse lying on the steps of the school when distracted by a guy with a cute smile.

There were definitely moments where the narration intruded on the story and they were my least favourite moments. Sometimes you just want her to get on with the story and to stop being so delighted with her own cleverness but other times it works really well.

My favourite line: “But he seemed so… non-murdery He was all ice cream and puppies and sexy-swimmer’s arms.”

I’m still on the fence about whether I love this book or not because I know there were definite moments where I really was annoyed at the story but I’ve finished it with a smile on my face. I guess it goes to show you won’t know what lies inside a book until you try it.

Have you ever had a book that has turned out to be surprisingly good?

15 Comments

  1. David said,

    Dig the title of that book and the amusing line you featured.

    I always find something in a book that I can learn from as a writer. So, I’m rarely if ever disappointed.

  2. Talli Roland said,

    I absolutely LOVE the title of that book!

    Hm… I can’t think of any surprisingly good books at the moment. I’ll be back if something comes to mind!

  3. RD said,

    Hi Cassandra! I see you over at writingsluts and decided to follow your link.

    I like your summation of Summers’ work, but I’m not sure what you mean when you say “the narration intruded on the story.” Like the dialogue was more interesting? Or the author’s descriptions of the setting were annoying? Or the character’s feelings were too ubiquitous? I’ve been accused of author intrusion in critiques, but I’m still not sure what it is I’m doing that’s working everybody’s last nerve.

    Help?

    Thanks,

    RD

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      The character narrating the story liked to editorialise rather than simply tell the story and at times it was distracting from the events and her comments seemed pointless rather than humorous as I’m sure was intended. This is a minor nitpick at an otherwise interesting read.

  4. Carol Kilgore said,

    Yes, I love when books turn out to be good. It’s always a wonderful surprise.

  5. Alex Willging said,

    I was surprised by how good Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novel “Mort” was, as it was the first book of that series I’d ever read. And your post title got me interested fast, since I’m currently reading Book Three of Anne Rice’s “The Vampire Chronicles.” I’m planning to review the anthology in a few weeks on my own blog.

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      Mort was the first Terry Pratchett I read too and I absolutely loved it. Am now a very big fan of the Discworld.

  6. Lynn Rush said,

    OMG. I might just go out and buy this book as well! I LOVE that kind of humor. :-)

  7. AlexJ said,

    One’s not coming to me… the last book I read was just the opposite.

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      I’ve had a few books like that as well where I was bitterly let down.

  8. catwoods said,

    Love the post and will have to purchase this for a quick summer read. Humor is the bomb.

    Anyway, the last book I didn’t think I would like was The Amulet of Samarkand–book one of the Bartimaeus Trilogy. I hated the cover and didn’t really dig the cover blurb. However, my son “won” it and for some reason both it and I were stranded in the car at the same time. I picked it up and didn’t stop until I was done. It is now one of my very favorite juvenile books out there.

    Great question.

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      Sounds like I might have to check that one out – I also bypassed this when I saw it in the shops.

  9. Lua said,

    “ Sometimes you just want her to get on with the story and to stop being so delighted with her own cleverness”
    I know what you mean by this and I have to confess- I’m guilty of it! I’m desperately trying to cut all those parts in revision for they are my least bits to read in a book as well but I’m not sure if I’m doing a good job…
    I was pretty skeptical about the girl with the dragon tattoo, I tend to be a bit prejudiced against books that everyone loves and constantly talks about but I gave in to my curiosity and I’m glad that I did! So far I’m really enjoying the book :)

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      The girl with the dragon tattoo has been recommended to me quite a few times. I will have to add that to my to be read list at some stage.

  10. milkfever said,

    Just a little bit over the whole vampire theme, but this one does sound like it’s worth a read. :-)

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