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Monday, October 23, 2006

The Vampires Memoirs Book Review

The Vampire Memoirs

by Tracy Briery (co-authored by the character in the book wink wink)

published by Pinnacle books (2000)

432 pages

It occurred to me the other day that I have only been reviewing the good-to-great books that I read on here. I haven’t yet mentioned the mediocre-to-really, really shitty books that I read. And it’s inevitable that when you read as many books as I do, you’re going to find some clunkers.

Now, the latest in the long line of idiocy that I cannot believe ever got published and where is this publisher when I want to submit a stinky manuscript…. is called the Vampire Memoirs.

I should have been warned by the 99 cent sticker on the cover. I should have been warned by the cover art, a sexy-looking, waving-haired brunette with a sultry pout and two, needle-sharp teeth protruding from between her luscious red lips. I should have been warned when I started the journey and within the first page or two read that this chick was “living” in A.D. 325 when she got transformed into a vampire and yet her life doesn’t seem to change much in the next thousand or so years… oh and the guy who “turned” her had been a vampire already for a thousand or two thousand years… putting him back in the days of cavemen as far as I’m concerned, though he talks about the many years he spent trying to find the secrets to immortality, as did all men of his time... I thought people back in that day, the Late Archaic period- were just busy trying to find grubs to go along with their haunch of venison for dinner that night. I didn’t realize they were all searching for the secrets of immortality.

Despite the staggering inaccuracies of this author's descriptions of life in 325- dressers, mirrors, and paper common enough to be considered “junk” shoved into drawers- I went ahead and read it, more out of curiosity than anything. I like vampire books, they are usually at least slightly interesting, and I could forgive the author’s one little lapse. Mara, the main character of this book, spends the first third of the book as a human. She is a “warrior”, apparently, although again there is little historical evidence of female warriors prancing around hiring themselves out as bodyguards during the time period. She meets/hates/gradually falls in love with this annoyingly persistent guy who falls in love with her even there is absolutely nothing, even remotely, loveable about this woman. I got a kick out of the fact that all of her characters talked like modern day dufuses- imagine a little peasant girl from 325 saying, “HUH? I don’t get it. Tell me what the heck you’re talking about.”

She is turned into a vampire against her will by this evil dude- the one from the cave who is already several thousands of years old, yet shows the emotional maturity of a kindergartener and the savvy of his first grade brother. People apparently grow no wiser, even when living as a supernatural creature forever….not in this author’s imagination. They remain basically the same person they were when they were transformed, temper tantrums, unreasonableness and stupidity intact.

Sniggers turned to giggles when Mara is in London like a thousand years later- it’s a short jump, the author decides not to really get into what she does after she escapes from her maker. Instead we read a page or so that explains that she runs around with wolves and eats rabbits and stuff in the woods. For hundreds and hundreds of years. Hehehe. And, when the moon turns full, she gets a little amorous. Guess who she takes her libido out on? The wolves! Uh-huh. Even if she’s also in wolf form, this is skating the edge of bestiality to me. Gross.

The funniest part of the book (and there are a lot of funny parts) is that now, in London, she starts speaking with an affected, Shakespearean tilt to her words. Although the other characters don’t. Let me give you a taste.

Mara finds a child lying in an alleyway. “Child, dost thou needest help? Leteth me help thee up from thine pile of filth.”

Child: “Huh? I don’t get why you’re trying to help me, lady.”

Mara: Come, mine child. All will be welleth. Don’t worry. I’ll take care of you…uh. I mean, thee.”

Child: “Um…Yeah ok. I’m hungry.”

(One of the biggest giggle-inducers of the book was the fact that all of the characters, whether gutter brats or wise, billion-year-old vampires, say “um”, a lot.)

Jump ahead a few chapters and she’s still in London, although now it’s a couple of hundred years later, she’s become a prostitute. Shocked? Well…What else can she do? She’s only stayed alive for eons, stalking bunnies in the woods and rats in the cities (because she’s one of the noble vampires that don’t want to drink human blood). Now apparently, she can no longer care for herself, unexplained, so she has to become a hooker, to earn enough money to survive. If you ask me, I’d say the author is getting her weird fantasies mixed up while writing this…she needs to pick one and stick with it. Either she’s an all-powerful vampire, or she’s a sexy hussy that men use and abuse…. One or the other, sister. You can’t have both.

Anyway, now a hooker on the London streets, she talks for a few chapters with an Eliza Doolittle accent. “”Ere now, guv, wanna see what’s unner me skirts, do ye?” There is, of course, no explanation for this, nor does she offer one when Mara discards the accent in mid-sentence on her way to the 20th century.

She jumps through several wars in a paragraph or two and we end up in “modern” America, where Marahas become a history teacher (at night school, of course) and has made friends with a few other vampires. I was almost drooling with boredom by this time, but I had to finish the book, to see what happened. She was falling in love with a mortal, and of course, she wasn’t going to “turn him”. This made me think…most of us, if we became vampires, one of the benefits of the job would be turning the people we love into vampires as well…you know, giving them immortality and all that. But this author is one of the ones that wants us to see a vampire as a tortured soul, someone who regrets that she can no longer feel the sun on her face and doesn’t really care is she can shape-shift, charm people, and has the strength of the Incredible Hulk on steroids…. Not that it matters, in this book, because as we have seen Mara uses none of her powers and has to struggle to survive with the rest of the grimy humans. She wishes she was a human, although that means she would have died back in the dark ages… although undoubtedly she would have lived to be ninety-three, surrounded by grandkids, unaffected by the young age people died and high infant mortality rates of those days.

This book was Corny



And a total waste of my life. I shouldn’t have even stuck it out to the end… I should have realized that nothing was going to happen there, either.

The question is, how, why and where did this piece of ridiculousness get published???? The author has a sequel to this charmer, out, too… and what appears to be a werewolf story. I think I’ll pass. If the author’s vampires have sex with wolves during a full moon, I don’t even want to know what her werewolves get up to.

I give it a nice, deep purple on the Reading Rainbow.

So ....if you the reader are actually searching for a good vampire book- one where the vampires like being vampires, they eat people with no hesitation, where they own all the cool aura and mystique that creatures of the dark should own…. Let me give you a recommendation. I don’t want to send you away empty-handed after reading through that garbage above.

Take a look at Mick Farren’s vampire series, starting with The Time Of Feasting. This is some kick-ass writing, so ignore the dubious, dorky title. Led by Mr. Cool Vampire personified, Victor Renquist, a little band of vamps in New York city make up an unusual, creepy, and fascinating clan. The Time of Feasting is nearly upon them, a legendary period where vampires must practically bathe in blood, and as if Renquist didn’t have his hands full with trying to control this snacking-gone-wild time in his brood’s lives… now one of the cocky pups in the clan, Carfax, is starting to think that he’s all that, and Renquist might have a battle for leadership on his hands.

This series continues for another four or five books and they are all good stuff- what vampire readin’s supposed to be.


Blogger Mighty Michele said...

This is EXACTLY why I let you do the reading for me. Then I don't have to be the one to say, "There are (?) hours of my life I'll never see again." But I appreciate you sharing the Eliza Doolittle line. I'm gonna see how I can work that into a conversation today.

3:47 PM  
Blogger Meowkaat said...

Hehehee... hey, if you do, then my time reading this book will not have been wasted.

5:35 PM  

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