Veronica Austin is on a mission to find answers about her mother. Her separation from the Brotherhood leads her to seek those answers in vampire and Deamhan dens. The closer she gets to her answer, the uglier things get…from both sides of her associations. What’s a girl to do?
After reading Maris: The Brotherhood Files, I was already familiar with this author, and their world, going into the story. I liked the fact that in the world created, books are written for both sides. While Maris focused on the Brotherhood, one faction of the overall conflict, Deamhan focused on the other. Between the two books, the author did a wonderful job with compare and contrast. The narratives didn’t contradict one another. The author had tight control over their world.
While the worldbuilding soared, the characters felt a little flat. They didn’t seem to have much in the way of personality beyond doom and gloom. Even Veronica felt boring as the main character. It was a very familiar plot with very familiar archetypes set as players. I will say that I loved the diverse representation that went into creating the characters.
The author was well-versed in the ways of convenient plot devices. Situations meant to evoke specific emotions used unique devices to achieve their goal. While the plot was familiar, some of the paths to get there were not. The first-person writing style was consistent and clear, and done in a tone that didn’t make it feel cringy.
So far, I would have to say I’ve experienced relative success with this author and their novels. They’re standalone, but set in the same world, which builds upon itself with every novel. The vampires are stereotypical, but tolerable. There’s enough uniqueness that it doesn’t feel like every other vampire novel out there.
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Vampires are not my thing. I’m going to go ahead and get that out of the way. Nosferatu and the original Dracula were alright, but I lose my taste for even them after the Twilight fiasco.
These vampires—Vambir, these alien freakin’ vampires—are totally my thing.
First of all, let’s talk about how we have sci-fi vamps. Second, let’s talk about how well they’re integrated into the era of Vlad the Impaler and the legend of Count Dracula. And Nosferatu. And modern vampires. Origins progresses history with the evolution of vampires. Not only was a thorough explanation given for the transformations, but they were all so integral to the plot.
Not only was the story seamless, so were characters. There was a wide array, and each of them had distinct personality—which, like everything else, served the plot well. Dialogue read easily and naturally.
It was filled with wonderful tension, suspense, and political intrigue. Every moment was carefully planned, and not a page was wasted getting there. Character development was on-point. Perspective switched were excellently placed. Each one allowed for the story to be told in an interesting way. It also utilized the ‘two sides to every story’-type narrative incredibly well.
This was a good book. A really good book. It gave me hope for the vampire genre. When I was it was hard to put down, I mean it. This was a really good book.
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Elizabeth Einspanier’s tale Sheep’s Clothing is a short, concise, and to-the-point representation of vampires in the Old West. Oh, and there’s a skinwalker, fighting to free a love lost to him.
I’m not normally a big vampire reader (I wasn’t much into them before and, I’m sorry, but Twilight absolutely ruined any desire I had to read/watch something with vampires or werewolves), but I was very happy to see that the bloodsuckers in Sheep’s Clothing were the more traditional ones: they sleep in coffins, are weak to crucifixes and other holy items, stake through the heart, ect… Elizabeth clearly did her research on vampiric legends of old.
And, instead of bringing in a traditional werewolf, she drew upon tales of skinwalkers that can take the form of any animal—only the protagonist in this one is a half-breed, so a wolf is his only form.
Weird Western is most certainly an apt category for this story. A frontier doctor, recently taken up residence in the small town of Salvation provides a rather delightful setting for the weird happenings about to take place.
The one major problem I had with the way things unfolded was how receptive, understanding, and easily people believed in the tales and legends of vampires being real. It boiled down to the doctor being able to walk up to anyone, say ‘there’s a vampire running amok,’ and get the response ‘oh, okay. What do you need?’ It made things too easy and created very little struggle for the doctor and his companions to save Salvation from the claws of this unholy terror and it made Sheep’s Clothing fall short of the epicness it could have contained.
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