Donít Talk Back to Your Vampire
Published 2007 352 pages
Reviewed by Lotte
Summary (from the book jacket)
Ever since a master vampire became possessed and bit a bunch of parents, the town of Broken Heart, Oklahoma, has catered to those of us who don’t rise until sunset – even if that means PTA meetings at midnight.
As for me, Eva LeRoy, town librarian and single mother to a teenage daughter, I’m pretty much used to being ‘vampified.’ You can’t beat the great side effects: no crow’s feet or cellulite! But books still make my undead heart beat – and, strangely enough, so does Lorcan the Loner. My mama always told me everyone deserves a second chance. Still, it’s one thing to deal with the usual undead hassles; rival vamps, rambunctious kids adjusting to night school, and my daughter’s new boyfriend, who’s a vampire hunter, for heaven’s sake. It’s quite another to fall for the vampire who killed you…
Ding, ding! It’s round two of vampire power battles combined with a ‘will they/won’t they’ undead romance. For the first few chapters it is indeed like revisiting old friends. You allow yourself to be happily carried along with their updates about how things have been over the past three months in Broken Heart, Oklahoma, newly vampire capital of the western world. You’re introduced to Eva, the Turn-blood librarian, who you met only briefly in the last book, and she seems nice. Finally you find out more about Lorcan, the seriously handsome (and seriously serious) ancient vampire. Not only is he the only known survivor of the lethal Taint illness, which continues to plague the local vamp population, but he seems to be developing an interest in Eva that goes beyond her ample library. Round it off with mysterious scariness in the nearby woods and you’ll all set for a great second installment in this parent vampire series… um, not exactly.
I really wanted to enjoy "Don’t Talk Back To Your Vampire" as much as ‘I’m the Vampire, That’s Why’, but it just wasn’t as satisfying and definitely not as funny. Eva and Lorcan’s characters are engaging and the central love story works, but the additional storylines and background events are less convincing. Michele Bardsley is a good writer who knows how to keep up a fast pace with exciting plot and sexual tension, but at times I’d have preferred more exploration of the finer plot points, rather than the characters’ fine bodies. Occasionally I was re-reading dialogue to understand the characters’ decisions or conclusions, but unfortunately it rarely clarified. Sometimes events seemed to just happen (Oh, she’s been kidnapped!) and characters weren’t always fleshed out enough, so their motivations were confusing. There were explanations of sorts, but these were often brief, so that overall it didn’t quite knit together in the way of the first book.
Talking of explanations, in the ‘Note from the Author’ Michele Bardsley shows she’s aware of some of the issues with which a reader may find fault, but she’s cheerfully unapologetic. For example, it was a bit annoying constantly looking up the Gaelic words peppered rather too liberally throughout the text, but the author’s comment is ‘Yeah, I got crazy with the Gaelic again. What can I say? I love me some Irish’. She then highlights another aspect of the novel that definitely jarred on me – the random nature of the historical and fictional references in the text. One minute she’s writing old Irish vampire myths, the next she’s in ancient Egypt and then suddenly she throws in a reference to the Second World War and the Nazis. Michele acknowledges that she ‘has a fondness for ancient cultures’ and that her research ‘went in several directions’, telling us ‘You may notice how I crowbar in certain ideas’. Yes, Michele, I did notice the ‘crowbar’ effect, but as a reader I prefer more of a ‘weaving’ approach. I guess Michele and I will have to agree to differ…
As with the other books in the series, this one can be easily read on its own as a stand-alone story. Had this been the first one I’d read, I doubt I’d have felt particularly interested in reading more. However, as I did really like the first book and this isn’t really bad (just not so good), I’m going to assume that the shortcomings in this novel are down to a form of Second Novel Taint. So, onto number three - it better be good, Michele.
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