Published 2002 285 pages
Alek Knight is a dhampir (the offspring of a vampire and human) he was abandoned, along with his twin sister Debra, as a baby and raised in an orphanage. Alek and Debra were strange friendless children who scared the other orphaned children and adults alike. Unable to understand their strange cravings for blood they eventually runaway from the orphanage.
Coven master Amadeus then finds the children and Alek is inducted into the Coven of vampire slayers. The coven is made up of dhampir priests, trained in the art of vampire slaying. The coven polices the vampire community for the Vatican church.
Alek is a master swordsman and slays vampires with his Double Serpent Katana Ninja sword forged by the legendary Hattori Hanzo. He has brought many vampire heads back to the coven to be added to the coven’s altar made of vampire skulls. All his life Alek has been favoured by Amadeus the coven master and he has been groomed to take Amadeus’s place as leader of the coven.
Haunted by the past and his sorrow for his dead twin sister Debra, Alek is driven to betray the coven and Amadeus. As his fellow slayers are sent to kill him, Alek turns rogue and finds himself fighting for his life as he tries to discover the true purpose for his existence.
Afraid that Alek knows a secret that will undermine the church and expose its secret plans for the vampire race, Amadeus will stop at nothing to silence him.
Slayer is the first novel in a series of books by Karen Koehler featuring Alek Knight. Written in an urban/industrial gothic style it is heavy on death, blood, leather, swordplay, black and incestuous relationships – all things gothic in fact.
The writing is wonderfully descriptive, the gothic imagery evoked by the prose will say in the readers mind long after the book is finished. I felt that I could visualise the characters in Slayer, especially Debra (Alek’s dead twin sister) in my minds eye down to the tiniest details.
Slayer is not a happy novel, although there is plenty of fast paced action as Alek’s fellow slayers try to kill him and he fights for his life, for most of the book Alek’s character has a melancholy and introspective feel. Through flashbacks the reader learns of his relationship with his sister, who plays a large role in this story even though she is dead.
Slayer will not be for everyone, I think it will be one of those books that a reader either loves or hates depending on personal taste. If your taste runs to modern gothic literature I can’t imagine why this book is not already gracing your bookshelf.
LoveVampires Review Rating: