Category: Vampires

Aug 15

Fledgling by Octavia Butler

Science Fiction, Vampires 7

Greetings Bookworms!

I know I whine from time to time about how often I get bitten by mosquitoes because it is very unpleasant to be itchy. It’s not just mosquitoes, though. I’m really, really delicious to all blood-sucking insects (they ALL make me itch, the jerks.) This has led to my hard and fast belief that vampires cannot possibly exist because I would have perished long, long ago. Until, that is, someone comes along and turns vampire lore upside down. That’s right, kids. We’re talking about the incomparable Octavia Butler today. I decided to pick up Fledgling after some twitter discussions reminded me how freaking amazing Kindred (review) was. I wasn’t in the mood to pick up a series at the time (though I’ve heard some fabulous things about her series which are obviously on the endless TBR pile), so I went for Fledgling, a standalone novel. It was an excellent decision, if I do say so myself.

Fledgling kicks off with a little girl who seems to have lost her memory. Though she remembers nothing about her life prior to waking up in fledglinga cave, she displays some startlingly inhuman abilities. This, eventually, leads to her discovery that she is, in fact, a 53-year-old genetically modified vampire. I’ll let that last sentence sink in for a second. I’ve found that the story lines that sound the most ludicrous out of context tend to fuel the best books when in the right hands, and Butler is a master craftswoman. Because seriously. 53-year-old genetically modified vampire? That’s quite an ambitious starting point!

I absolutely LOVED Butler’s take on vampire lore. Most vampire stories feature vampires laughing off at least a couple of vampiric stereotypes, but Butler’s take was easily the most creative I’ve ever read. Where other authors will dismiss one or two tropes, Butler just SMASHED the dominant narrative. I want to give you all the details but that would be super spoilery and that’s not a nice thing to do. I will tell you that although the main character was significantly older than she appeared, I did get pretty weirded out by her, um, extremely mature behavior. Largely because for a decent section of the book neither she nor her companions were aware that she was, in fact, 53 years old. But you know how it is when you’re reading awesome science fiction/fantasy. You fully commit to the characters and the narrative and it’s not too hard to let your pesky real world hangups slide away.

If you have ever enjoyed a vampire novel, you need to pick up Fledgling post haste. Trust me on this one, okay?

Talk to me, Bookworms! What’s your favorite vampire superstition? I find the garlic thing fascinating myself. But, fun fact? Taking garlic pills does jack to keep mosquitoes from biting. Just an FYI right there. 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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May 02

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Coming of Age, Fantasy, Humor, Vampires, Young Adult Fiction 12

Hello Bookworms,

I’ve told you how much I love Rainbow Rowell before, right? In case you missed my reviews of Attachments, Eleanor & Park, Fangirl, and Landline, you can check them out here, here, here, and here. After devouring Landline much too quickly, I decided I’d wait on reading Rowell’s next release. Instead of begging the publisher for an advanced copy, I put myself on a seemingly endless library wait list so that by the time I read it, the wait for the next book wouldn’t seem as long. I probably won’t do that again because it kind of sucked, but I thought I should try it. The good news is that the library wait list eventually ended and I got to read Carry On!

carryonCarry On is the story of Simon Snow. Yes, THAT Simon Snow. The one Cath and Wren were totally enthralled with in Fangirl? Of course, it’s the fan fiction version of Simon Snow, not “canon” (which doesn’t actually exist. Wow. This is harder to explain than I thought it would be.) Okay, so. You don’t HAVE to have read Fangirl to enjoy Carry On because I think it can stand alone, but you should read both regardless because they’re delicious. Back to Simon. He’s a magician who attends a magical boarding school and he just wants to get through his final year without any of the life threatening shenanigans that have plagued his school career up to this point.

Unfortunately, his mentor wants him to hide out in the mountains, his roommate is missing, and his girlfriend just broke up with him. Ghosts are coming out of the woodwork, vampires are a thing, and don’t get me started on the super villain. Suffice it to say that our dear Simon probably isn’t going to get his wish for an uneventful school year.

I love Rainbow Rowell. This book was such a playful take on Harry Potter-esque stories, what with the punny spells and such. Plus, it’s a bit of a swoony love story. It’s not a spoiler for those who have read Fangirlbut it becomes apparent quite early on in Carry On that Simon and his roommate/potential vampire Baz have some serious sexual tension happening. Which means, yes, there are boys falling for other boys. Which is, in my opinion, pretty awesome. Even if the dudes in question are magicians/potential vampires, it’s nice to see some LGBT representation in YA literature.

Talk to me, Bookworms! If you were to write fan fiction, what would be your fandom of choice?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Nov 12

Vampires and Witches and Daemons, Oh My! (The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness)

Supernatural, Time Travel, Vampires 21

Good Morrow, Bookworms!

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: A witch, a daemon, and a vampire walk into a bar… Oh wait, you know that one? That’s kind of what I thought too, when I started reading the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. I decided to review the series as a whole, because I totally binge listened to them and this way I can limit spoilers with carefully placed vagaries. I’ll probably screw up and reveal stuff because I’m me, so take this as your spoiler alert if you’re super spoiler averse. Spoiler sounds funny if you say it over and over again. Spoiler. Spoooooiiiiiillllllllleeerrrrrrr.

Basic plot overview: Historian/professor/reluctant witch Diana Bishop finds herself drawn into an ancient mystery all while falling head over heels in love with a vampire/doctor/research fellow/polyglot Matthew Clairmont. A mysterious, bewitched alchemical manuscript revealed itself to Diana and as a result she draws the interest of every daemon, witch, and vampire in the greater Oxford region. Diana and Matthew’s attraction is forbidden by a shadowy organization whose chief function is to prevent the intermingling of creatures lest they be discovered by the hapless humans surrounding them (Volturi, anyone?) Diana and Matthew need to acquire the book, discover the secrets it holds, and figure out their relationship before the world around them implodes. Or something. It’s a big deal, okay?

adiscoveryofwitches

A Discovery of Witches was the first book in the crew and I found it disturbingly Twilight -ish… At least in the beginning. Diana (who doesn’t realize she’s beautiful and talented) can’t figure out why devastatingly handsome vampire Matthew has a thing for her. She falls for him, he tries to push her away despite his desperate passion, you know the drill. As things progressed, I got a little less grumpy because there was some science (highly fictionalized science, mind, we’re talking about vampires, daemons, and witches, after all) and pseudo-science. Namely alchemy. Everyone knows that alchemy is the process by which people who didn’t understand the periodic table of elements attempted to turn metal into gold. It’s obviously not a thing that can happen, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fascinating from a historical perspective, so that was pretty fun.

shadowofnight

Shadow of Night was the second book in the bunch, and reminded me of the second Outlander novel, Dragonfly in Amber in approximately 18 zillion ways. Only, you know. Vampires and witches and daemons. Oh my. There were a ton of cameos by famous historical figures because OF COURSE. Vampires don’t just chill with chimney sweeps. They get all up in art and literature and philosophy and politics. They also adopt street urchins, but as much as I liked Jack, he’s no Fergus. (From Outlandernatch. My word this isn’t very coherent if you haven’t read every single book I’ve read, is it?)

bookoflife

The Book of Life was the final installment of the series, and while it contained elements I recognized from other series, none of the comparisons are as pronounced as with the first two books. In fact, it felt a little more spy thriller than supernatural time-traveling love story at times. Intrigue and justice and the righting of old wrongs all came into play.

I know this was meant to be a trilogy, but I kind of feel like Harkness left a number of loose ends that she could neatly dovetail into an offshoot series, prequel, or future installments. I’d probably read them if she wrote them. I’m not completely in thrall to the series, but I’d be willing to invest some more time in this world. If you’re in the mood for the supernatural, it’s definitely worth a read.

Talk to me, Bookworms! Have you read the All Souls TrilogyDid you see the same parallels I did? What did you think?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jul 07

Words for Worms Rewind: Campy Vamps!

Rewind, Vampires 13

Greetings Bookworms!

I mentioned last week that I was going to be resurrecting some of my old posts that had been eaten by internet gremlins, right? Who’s up for another one? I’m imagining thousands of hands in the air even though I am acutely aware that I do not *have* thousands of readers. A girl can dream, right? In this early post, I talked about my fixation on vampire novels. Welcome to time-capsule Katie, y’all!

I promised I’d be honest in my blog, didn’t I? That’s probably a good thing, because I’m a terrible liar anyway. We’ve all got guilty pleasures. Perhaps yours is belting “Call Me Maybe” along with the radio. Or you have a secret celeb crush on Jesse Eisenberg. Or you cry at the end of the Care Bears Movie. No? I guess that’s just me. It is time for me to confess my love affair with those sexy bloodsuckers of the night, vampires.

twilight41. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. Oh Twilight. Stephenie Meyer, you weaver of tales. Sparkly vampires and teen love and werewolves and silliness. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I really liked the Twilight books when I read them. I read them before the movies came out, so I somehow feel that is justification. I don’t think they really provide a good message to young girls- I mean, Bella pretty much embraces a stalker and a dude who literally wants to kill her like all the time. But I couldn’t help myself. Blame my inner 13 year old. Bella’s falling for Edward reminded me of my awkward middle school crushes, only her story had a “happily ever after” and mine ended with a “you’ve got a booger in your nose.” I was bereft when I finished the series. She was immortal with a family and her beloved and she didn’t even want to eat people that badly. I had to clear my head of the swoony fog and get excessively annoyed with the movie marketing in order to break the spell of Twilight, but my inner 13 year old persists on some level.
2. Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris.True Blood on HBO is based on this series of novels, albeit very loosely. Like VERY loosely. When I ordered these books deaduntildark(thanks Amazon!) there were 10 in the boxed set. I devoured them all within 2 weeks. Sookie Stackhouse is the heroine of the series, who happens to be telepathic (much to her chagrin). She’s also part fairy, so, there’s that too. These books aren’t especially well written, but they’re so imaginative. The town of Bon Temps reminds me a little of Stars Hollow (Gilmore Girls!!!!). It’s just got such an oddball cast of weirdos flavored with Louisiana accents and supernatural beings that it’s hard not to get swept up. Despite the fact that these books make my guilty pleasures list, I must admit that the recent contributions have been lackluster. The latest book, Deadlocked, is the 12th in the series. I read it shortly after it was released, and pretty much nothing of note occurred for the entire book. I don’t know that I can blame Harris- how can you really keep a series fresh and interesting into the double digits? But… If you’re going to dive into these, throw in the towel around book 6. *Update: I finished the series and if you’re interested in my thoughts on the final installment, you can read them HERE.*

3. The Circle Trilogy by Nora Roberts. Yes, THAT Nora Roberts. She wrote a trilogy of books about a vampire war. Morrigan’s Cross, Dance of the Gods, and Valley of Silence kept me on the edge of my seat. I blame this ENTIRELY on my BFF. She told me she was reading these goofy vampire books she couldn’t put down, so obviously I picked them up. These books roll every supernatural idea into one crazy package. Time travel? Check. Witches and warlocks? Check. Shape shifters? Vampire hunters? Alternate dimensions? Check, check, and check. Throw in some romance for good measure. She’s Nora Roberts, for heaven’s sake, there MUST be some romance! Are you shaking your head yet? Yeah, me too. However, if you’ve got a high tolerance for this sort of thing, these are glorious.
To draw a comparison, if Shakespeare is the broccoli of literature (you know, REALLY good for you but a lot of people don’t like to eat it?), then these books are a giant bag of Doritos. They’re delicious, to be sure, but should only be consumed in moderation. Of course, if you’re suffering a literature famine, then damnit, eat all the Doritos you can find! Reading anything is better than reading nothing. Keep that in mind, my little worms.

Oh 2012. You were a good year. I’ve since changed my stance some on the idea of guilty pleasure reading. I don’t like that for YEARS I allowed myself to feel silly for liking what I like. I shouldn’t have to. You shouldn’t either. Talk to me Bookworms! Have you ever been embarrassed to admit how much you liked a particular book, genre, or series? Let’s just get it all out there, shall we?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jun 09

Audio Book Mini Reviews

Audio Books, Children's Fiction, Supernatural, Vampires, Young Adult Fiction 17

Howdy Bookworms!

I am the worst lately. I just can’t seem to motivate myself to write thoughtful, interesting reviews. BWAHAHAHAHA. Sorry, sorry. Thoughtful and interesting aren’t really my bag, are they? Ah well. Even when I’m not posting, I’m still devouring books in any number of formats. I’ve got some bite sized tidbits for y’all today on my recent audio book listening.

audiominireviews

1. The Magician King by Lev Grossman: This is the second installment in The Magicians trilogy (review). It was enjoyable enough, as broody fantasy goes, but I’m legitimately puzzled by one thing. WTF is with Lev Grossman and foxes?! People transformed into foxes, fox deities… Bizzaro sexualization. I’m kind of worried about this guy.

2. Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan: I think I’m too old for this. I have absolutely no doubt that if this book had been released when I was a teenager, I would have ADORED it and declared it my soul mate made of words. There were still elements I really dug, but there were times I wanted to tell both these kids to quit taking themselves so seriously. GET OFF MY LAWN.

3. You Suck: A Love Story by Christopher Moore: I had no idea this was a trilogy until I was almost finished with the book, but it was an entertaining and campy twist on the vampire genre. I couldn’t decide if I was amused or incredibly annoyed by the voice used for Abby Normal. It was soooo over the top crazy. Laugh or cringe? I simply do not know!

4. Matilda by Roald Dahl: I know, I can’t believe I hadn’t read this before now either. While I found Matilda utterly charming as a character, I can’t help but wonder… WHAT HAPPENED IN YOUR CHILDHOOD, ROALD DAHL?! The grown ups are SO MEAN.

What have y’all been reading and listening to? I feel so out of the loop! 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Feb 19

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Vampires, Young Adult Fiction 17

I Vant To Suck Your Blooooood, Bookworms!

I’m LYING. I do NOT want to do that. There are just so few vampire jokes out there, you know? Ah well. In case you hadn’t guessed it, today we’re talking vampires. Because why not? I’ve heard a lot about Holly Black and when I heard that The Coldest Girl in Coldtown was on sale for super cheap (thanks for the head’s up, Ethel!) I decided to give it a go. (It was a Kindle Daily Deal, I think. If you’re an Amazon shopper, sign up for those notices. Or don’t. Amazon gets a lot of my money that way…)

coldestgirlincoldtownIn The Coldest Girl in Coldtownvampires are totally a thing. When the vampires came out of the coffin, so to speak (stole that phrase from Charlaine Harris, clever minx) things went a little crazy. Holly Black added a new twist to the whole vampire thing, because when vamps went public, they neither integrated into society nor brought about an apocalypse. Instead, the vampires were quarantined into walled cities known as Coldtowns where they hang out and do vampire-y things like feed on goth child wannabes. As one does. Our heroine Tana wakes up the morning after a typical high school rager to find that she is one of two survivors of a vampire massacre. (Passing out in a bathtub is the way to go unnoticed, in case you’re curious.) Her ex boyfriend is on the verge of a full scale draining, but she also encounters a mysteriously chained up vampire. Because it’s ALWAYS a good idea to let the vampire out of captivity, she does. Then, she embarks on a road trip with her ex, a vampire, and a boatload of survivor’s guilt. Their destination? Coldtown. (DUN DUN DUN!)

I thought this book was a lot of fun. I mean, if you can’t handle the inherent silliness that comes with vampire lore, this probably isn’t for you. If you don’t mind a little bloodsucking, I think it’s a winner. I liked the take Black took on the traditional vampire trope and I LOVED the inclusion of LGBTQ characters. It’s YA, it’s about vampires, and it’s a good time. If you’re feeling it, pick up a copy of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and vamp it up!

And now for the all important question, Bookworms. Vampires or Zombies. In the battle of the undead, which is more awesome?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission, every penny of which will go right back to Amazon because I have a PROBLEM with the Kindle Daily Deal.*

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Oct 31

‘Salem’s Lot: The Fellowship of the Worms is Traumatized by Stephen King

Book Club, Vampires 11

Happy Halloween, grim grinning Bookworms!

Halloween Katoo

The penguin wanted to come in costume.

I am super stoked today! Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and I LOVE handing out candy to the oodles of Trick-Or-Treaters who come through our neighborhood. Today is extra super spooktacular because OMG THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE WORMS! This month we tackled a classic Stephen King tome, ‘Salem’s Lot. WARNING: We will be discussing the WHOLE book. This will no doubt include SPOILERS. If you did not read the book and would like to participate, pick up a copy of ‘Salem’s Lot and give it a read. This post will be here waiting for you when you finish. Now that the particulars are out of the way, I’ll remind you of the premise here. I’ll pose questions in bold and answer them in regular type.  If you don’t want your opinions influenced by my rantings, stick to the bold first. Feel free to answer them in the comments, or if you’re so inclined, leave a comment linking to your review of ‘Salem’s Lot on your own blog! I fully encourage shameless self promotion, so if you’ve reviewed this don’t hesitate to get your link on.

 1. Was this book as frightening as you anticipated?

No! I have been such a chicken about Stephen King for so long I fully expected to need to use my penguin nightlight on the regular. I found the book rather soporific, actually, it took me longer to read than usual because I kept conking out. At first I thought I’d just been desensitized by The Walking Dead but then I remembered I’d been watching the show before I read World War Z (review) and The Passage (review) and they BOTH scared the pants off me. I mean, they didn’t scare me as much as books about ghosts and evil spirits would have (I don’t believe in vampires and zombies. The others? Let’s just say I’m a bit on the terrified eccentric side.) Still. I was surprised by my relative lack of fright while reading this.

2. Did you have any nightmares while reading ‘Salem’s Lot?'salem's lot

I’m happy to report I had but one nightmare during the reading of this book, in which a childhood friend who is currently living in Europe was killed under suspicious circumstances. I’m not entirely sure I can attribute it to the book at all, as I don’t believe vampires were involved in her demise, but whatever. (Don’t worry, I emailed her about the dream just in case I’m psychic and told her to be careful. I’m sure she loved that. Right, Mary?)

 3. What’s your favorite part of vampire lore that was incorporated into ‘Salem’s Lot?

The piece of vampire lore that makes me feel better about the whole thing is that you HAVE to invite them into your home for them to get to you. Depending on the novel, this invitation clause isn’t always in play, but I feel safer when it is. I know they have hypnotic eyeballs or whatever, but shoot. I don’t even answer the door for my incredibly nice neighbors delivering holiday decorating prizes.

4. Young Mark Petrie’s parents dismiss the warnings from Ben, Dr. Cody, and Father Callahan as hokum. How long do you think it would take YOU to believe a vampire apocalypse was taking place? If this weird crew showed up at your house, how would you react?

I’m a chicken. Have I mentioned that?  I think I’d have a hard time dismissing a doctor, writer, priest, AND my own child, but I mean, a vampire infestation is a tough story to swallow. King described the town feeling super creepy and evil, and people kept going missing… I think given the circumstances I might be persuaded. Although, if face-to-face with Barlow, I’m afraid my cross might stop glowing too. Yikes!

5. Alright Bookworms, what’s the overall verdict on this one? What did you think, all-in-all?

I know this sounds ridiculous coming from ME of all people, but I was disappointed that this book didn’t frighten me! I mean, Stephen King, yo! I had EXPECTATIONS! I enjoyed it on the whole except for one thing. The copy of the book I got from the library tacked a bunch of deleted scenes onto the end of my copy… Only, I didn’t realize what they were at first. I mean, I thought everything ended at the epilogue, but then there was all this extra stuff and I got confused about the timeline of events. If I discount the confusion toward the end, though, it was certainly a Halloween appropriate read, and I should probably be grateful I was still able to sleep!

If you’ve reviewed ‘Salem’s Lot on your own blog or have tackled the discussion questions, please link up! I’m all kinds of interested in what y’all thought!

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*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Sep 26

Fellowship of the Worms Announcement: ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

Book Club, Vampires 32

Greetings Bookworms!

You’ll remember that Halloween is one of my FAVORITE holidays. You may also remember that I’m a ginormous chicken about scary books. 'salem's lotI’m feeling brave this month, as long as y’all are willing to join me. To get us in the Halloween spirit, we’re going to tackle a Stephen King novel, and NOT one of the carefully chosen less-horrifying tomes I normally pick. I’ve decided on ‘Salem’s Lot for a few reasons. First, Rory of Fourth Street Review (AKA my go-to Stephen King expert) assures me that it’s excellent. She also said it was terrifying, BUT it’s about vampires. I can handle vampires because I’m one thousand percent sure they could never be real. (How am I sure? I am DELICIOUS to mosquitoes. If vampires were a real thing, I’d be long gone.) I do better with nightmares when it comes to mythological creatures like vampires and zombies than do with ghosts and demons and psycho killers (which could TOTALLY BE REAL!) Check out the Goodreads synopsis:

Something strange is going on in Jerusalem’s Lot … but no one dares to talk about it. By day, ‘Salem’s Lot is a typical modest New England town; but when the sun goes down, evil roams the earth. The devilishly sweet insistent laughter of a child can be heard echoing through the fields, and the presence of silent looming spirits can be felt lurking right outside your window. Stephen King brings his gruesome imagination to life in this tale of spine tingling horror.

DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUN!!! Are you nervous-cited?! I know I am… Or at least I WILL be if I have your moral support! We’ll be talking about this big scary book on HALLOWEEN, Friday, October 31. Please join me? I have a penguin night light for these situations. I have a feeling it’s going to be getting a workout.

Talk to me Bookworms! Who’s in? What’s your favorite scary book?

*If you purchase your copy of ‘Salem’s Lot through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Oct 17

I Vant to Suck Your Blooood! (Dracula by Bram Stoker)

Classics, Frightening, Vampires 45

Greetings, Bookworms!

That’s right kids. In honor of my Halloweenie reading binge I finally got around to Dracula by Bram Stoker. I’ve had this book waiting around on my Kindle since I got a Kindle… 3 years ago. It was the very first book I downloaded, and it’s just been sitting there gathering digital dust while I read a zillion other things. I am proud to say that I conquered the grand-daddy of all vampire lore!

dracula

Dracula is written in an epistolary format, meaning that it is composed completely of letters, journal entries, and newspaper clippings. (I don’t mean to insult anyone’s intelligence by defining “epistolary format,” but since I had to look it up for myself a while back, I figured I’d be nice and throw y’all a bone. Nobody likes to have to google things!)

Our hero Jonathan is sent on a business trip to Transylvania in order to instruct a wealthy gentleman (Count Dracula) on how to go about purchasing property in England. Unfortunately for Jonathan, the Count hadn’t planned on allowing his guest to leave the castle in possession of his vital fluids. Nevertheless, Jonathan manages to escape while his love Mina makes the trip to help him recover from his ordeal in a foreign hospital.

While Mina is away, her BFF Lucy has some wild times. At the age of 19, Lucy receives three marriage proposals in a single day. (Weird social convention alert: it used to be normal to propose to acquaintances on the regular, and 19 was “old” to have never received an offer of marriage. According to Lucy, at least.) Anywho, she has these three suitors, but only one of them sets her heart aflame. She lets the other two down gently enough that they’re still pretty devoted to her… Her fellows are in close proximity when Lucy comes down with a mysterious ailment. One of the suitors she spurned happened to be a doctor, so he recruits his former professor Dr. Van Helsing to come and treat Lucy.

After some sleepwalking and nightmares and the usual dastardly vampirey tricks, Lucy is in pretty dire straits. Events occur… Garlic, crucifixes, holy water… You know. The usual. Of course, it wasn’t the usual before this book was released. I had to keep reminding myself of how groundbreaking this novel was because this is the SOURCE of the lore. It’s all become so mainstream that it’s easy to forget how inventive Stoker was.

I was pleasantly surprised with the beginning of the book- I had expected it to be drier, but I had no trouble following it. I enjoyed the use

Some might argue Dracula is tragically misunderstood... (Image Source)

Some might argue Dracula is simply misunderstood… (Image Source)

of journal entries and letters in advancing the narrative. I loved the psychic connection Dracula was able to have with his victims, but toward the end, I found things dragging a bit. Mina spent an awful lot of time under hypnosis telling Van Helsing that all her Dracula brain could interpret was darkness and the sound of waves. I’m sure Stoker was trying to build the tension by giving the characters so much time to travel, worry, and be frightened before their final showdown with the Count, but for me? It didn’t build tension, just my desire to sleep. Don’t worry though, I muddled through. I don’t want to spoil things, but I put the proverbial nail in the coffin of this book. (I’m sorry, but I cannot stop myself from making terrible jokes. There’s a chance my mind is being controlled by the vampire formerly known as Dave Coulier.)

I always love when I get add a classic to the list of books I’ve read. I was pleased with Dracula on the whole, and found it a perfect edition to my Halloweenie reading list. What about you, bookworms? Have any of you read Dracula? Did you feel like you’d already heard it all before since the lore has become ubiquitous, or were you able to focus on Stoker’s ingenuity?

 

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Oct 14

The Passage by Justin Cronin: A Fellowship of the Worms Spooktacular

Book Club, Dystopian, Frightening, Vampires 27

smarty mcwordypantsSalutations, Bookworms!

The Fellowship of the Worms is back in session. Our book club choice this month was The Passage by Justin Cronin, and an excellently creepy selection for October (if I do say so myself.) WARNING: We will be discussing the WHOLE book. This will no doubt include SPOILERS. If you did not read the book and would like to participate, pick up a copy of The Passage and give it a read. This post will be here waiting for you when you finish. Now that the particulars are out of the way, I’ll remind you of the premise here. I’ll pose questions in bold and answer them in regular type.  If you don’t want your opinions influenced by my rantings, stick to the bold first. Feel free to answer them in the comments, or if you’re so inclined, leave a comment linking to your review of The Passage on your own blog! I fully encourage shameless self promotion, so if you’ve reviewed this don’t hesitate to get your link on.

1. Did anybody else find the beginning section of this book a little hard to follow/get invested in? The book begins a few years in the future- not far enough for flying cars and robot housekeepers, but not exactly in the now. There’s some kind of super secret research going on to create a virus that will turn people into evil monster weapons. The US government is monkeying around with and they’re looking for subjects. They decide to work with death row inmates until someone gets a bee in his bonnet and wants to recruit an abandoned child. Because that’s not completely horrendous or anything. The whole plot I totally got. What I couldn’t keep straight were the 8 zillion FBI/CIA/Mad Scientist guys that were working on the project. So many last names floating around! I seriously could have used a flowchart explaining the chain of command. Seriously. That’s an idea for the next release- add it in as a little bonus. The readers will love you for it. It did take me quite a bit longer than I’d anticipated to really get invested in the book, so that was a bit of a bummer. Once it picked up speed though? Holy heck I couldn’t put it down!

2. What did you think of the vampires? How did they live up to your horrific expectations? What about the psychic/telepathic/dream stuff? I hate to be a giant comparison drawer, but I’m going to do it anyway. It’s how I roll. The vampires in this book reminded me of those in I Am Legend. Then all the dream stuff (not to mention the journeying) made me think of The StandThe Vampires themselves were spectacularly scary. The shark teeth? Creepy. The super speed and strength? Creepy. The psychic connection to their minions and the ability to give nightmares to the living? Creepy, creepy, creepy!

Creepy!

Creepy!

3. Was anybody else jarred by the time jump and the introduction of the colony? Were you able to connect with the colony character as well as you connected with characters from the first portion of the book? Yeah, I so did not see that coming. We just jumped forward in time a hundred years? It didn’t take long for me to become completely invested in the colony and its characters, but I’ve got to admit the pacing seemed a little weird. I kept expecting the time to shift again. I suppose it did to a certain extent- there were some passages with headings labeled a thousand years in the future, but they didn’t introduce any new characters or situations. The odd timeline is my only major complaint with the book, though, so I’m not too terribly upset.

4. How about that Amy? What did you make of her character? Even though she and Lacey had the same version of the virus, Amy still seems to be “special.” What do you make of this? I am so confused by this! Yes, Amy seemed “special” even before she was exposed to the virus, but so did Lacey. Lacey seemed to have some psychic stuff going on back at the convent and in her childhood. What makes Amy so different than Lacey, despite having the same strain of virus, has me completely baffled. Did I miss something? Did anybody else get a good feel for just why Amy is so different? 

5. Were you engaged enough in The Passage to move on and read The TwelveWhat did you make of the fact that Sara’s journal was located in the aftermath of the “massacre?” Are you holding out hope that Sara and the gang survived and that we’ll see them in the sequel or have you given them up for dead? I am TOTALLY invested enough to check out The Twelve. What is killing me is that the final installment of the trilogy is not yet available. Gaaaah! I need to start waiting until things are FINISHED before I start them. I am absolutely holding out hope that Sara and Hollis and Theo and Maus and the baby make it out alive, dangit. I will be too devastated if it is otherwise!

All in all, I thought The Passage was pretty awesome, and a perfect October read. How about you, Bookworms? What did you think? Tell us about it! And be sure to join us next month as we tackle Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Sometimes I just don’t want to read things alone, okay? We’ll be talking about Rebecca on Monday, November 18th!

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