For starters, I’m not a regular consumer of vampire fiction. To date, I have read exactly one vampire novel, and you’re reading its review. I “met” Molly Harper in an online forum and picked up the novel only because of her, and I had no expectations going into the book. Keep in mind that I don’t know any conventions of vampire fiction.
The novel is hilarious. It’s billed as a comedy, and it delivers.
Quickie outline: Jane Jameson is wrongfully fired from her position as a children’s librarian, goes on a bender and after a tragic accident is “rescued” by a vampire. (I’d say he saves her life, but she ends up undead, so that term doesn’t work.) The story follows her adjustment to vampirism, the changes in her friendships, and some of the issues she faces with other vampires.
The voice is pleasantly sarcastic and lighthearted, but it shifts well into “academic speak” when she’s giving the history of vampires or a quick jaunt into the psychology of vampirism. In other words, she talks just like a well-educated librarian vampire who’s a little wry about her circumstances. I didn’t feel she broke character, although there were two bad-editing spots where the same line was repeated in two different parts of the book. (Cut and paste error.) Those two moments stood out precisely because the book was so well done.
Overall it’s a comfort-comfort story (ie, a lot of fantasy wish-fulfillment) and although there’s sexual tension, there’s only one on-camera scene where they “do the deed” and because I’m a prude, I skimmed that (and I don’t feel I missed anything, so prudes like unto myself can feel comfortable doing the same.)
The characters are likeable, and I enjoyed spending time with them (even the ones that were annoying people — they were still fun to read about.)
My only criticism is “Plot? What plot?” The book gives a guided tour of her adjustment (although I have issues with the timeframe — it seems to take too long) but there’s no central plot other than a thin attempt at murder mystery. This whole book feels like a setup to the universe it’s set in, and actually, I’m looking forward to the next book (“Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men,” to be released in September) because now all the setup is out of the way and Harper can open up and let the stories take off on their own.
I’ll be passing this book along to some of my friends, and the next book will be going on my wish list. Definitely check it out!