The Reformed Vampire Support Group
Catherine Jinks

Morality: B+
Writing: B-

Being a vampire isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Just ask Nina, who’s been a vampire (and therefore a teenager) for thirty-plus years. Vampires don’t really have superhuman strength; they can’t shape-shift; and they most certainly are not sexy. What with the inability to function during daylight hours, the constant health problems, and the crowds of ComicCon fanboys out to stake you in the heart, pretty much the only way to make it as a vampire these days is to forswear human blood, live off guinea pigs, and join a support group.

Things are going along just fine (or at least as fine as they can be when you’re undead) until someone stakes the most unreformed of the members of the support group…which naturally puts everyone else on edge. Add in an underground werewolf fighting ring and a touch of romance, and you’ve got one entertaining story coming right up!

As long as you’re not bothered by the idea of morally neutral/good vampires in the first place, this novel is about as innocuous — maybe even morally sound — as vampire stories come. Nina doesn’t just live off of guinea pigs to increase her chances of survival. She actually wants to do the right thing, as do the other good characters in the book. They even have a goodhearted priest, Father Ramon, as the non-vampire sponsor of their support group (they meet in the church basement), who helps them in their adventures and provides moral counsel when they show tendencies to head in the wrong direction. Father Ramon is a great character — he’s charitable, generous, and mild but not dull; he doesn’t compromise; and he’s portrayed very positively and likeably. I was pleased.

The writing is not awe-inspiring, but the book is cleverly told all the same, with the right tone (not very serious) and more than a dash of humor (some of it flavored with a send-up tone). The best gimmick the author created was her vampires’ absolute inability to function during daylight (they’re clinically dead while the sun is up). Since not all the characters are vampires, this means that plenty of stuff can happen during the day…which means that Nina and her friends have a little mystery to solve every evening when they wake up — and keeps readers turning the pages.

Posted by Sasha | September 21, 2009

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