Category Archives: vampires

Fledgling by Octavia Butler

Fledgling

Alas or Hooray… we are living in a world where the relevance and popularity of Octavia Butler is on the rise! Her Kindred has just been adapted to an excellent graphic novel, Dawn (the first book in the Lilith’s Brood series) is becoming a TV show, and Parable of the Talents is currently reality. (not to spoil that dystopian book, but there’s a populist president brought into office by white supremacists chanting “Make America Great Again”)

Butler published Fledgling in 2005, just a year before her death. The book’s protagonist is named… well she can’t remember, at least for a while. She wakes up in terrible pain unable to remember anything, except that she is HUNGRY. What’s she hungry for? Well, turns out she’s Butler’s take on a vampire, so she’s hungry for blood. But Butler’s version of vampires (Ina) don’t necessarily kill for blood, instead cultivating extended families of human “symbionts” to feed off of. In turn, the humans gain supernatural health and longevity, and there’s a lot of sex too (it is a vampire story, after all).

Not that this is going to help entice you to read this book, but I’d like to say one of my favorite things about this book is the fact that everyone in it KNOWS there are vampires in culture. This is one of my greatest pet peeves about most genre films/books. The zombie apocalypse comes (like, say, in the walking dead) and nobody, nobody, nobody, has any idea what a zombie is. They’re always, “whoa, if you get bitten who knew you’d turn?” Anyone whose ever seen a zombie movie! Zombies, werewolves, and vampires as recognizable to modern Americans as Michael Jackson. Case in point— Thriller. So I find it refreshing that when our protagonist and her humans are trying to figure out what/who she is, they pour through hundreds of years of vampire folklore. Because scrubbing that from the universe while playing on this folklores tropes is just wrong. Butler even drops a lame Bella Lugosi joke, which even her characters find lame! Awesome.

Like many of Butler’s novels, the plot moves forward as an initially unsure protagonist gains skill and confidence to lead her community through struggle. The protagonist learns her name and finds that she is the product of genetic experimentation. The social mark of this experiment endangers and empowers her.

Overall, this is not my favorite Butler novel, and frankly I think a large part of that is that the main character appears to be only 10-11 in human years (but is really older, because… vampires), yet still is object of a lot of sexual desire and has a lot of sex (again, because vampires). Fine and good, but… yuuuuuuuck and eeee… it was just too much for me. I don’t really see the point, given the books interest in polyamorous relations.

Go read it– and all of Butler’s other works, too.

Availability: USMAI and COSMOS
Review Submitted by:  Shane D. Hall
Rating:  Recommended

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

The Golden Lily

 

The second book in the Bloodlines series that continues the amazing plot lines started in the first book. It also is a great start to what appears to be the main romance of the series. The book is able to balance adventure and romance very well. It is also able to deal with prejudices that exist in this fantasy world and make them relate to the real world.

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Taylor Horkan
Rating: Highly Recommended
Challenge: A book with a color in the title

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Bloodlines

 

This book is a start to the Bloodlines series. This series is a follow up to Richelle Meads original series Vampire Academy. This book promises a very strong sequel series with a very great set of characters. It really made me want to continue the series.

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Taylor Horkan
Rating: Highly Recommended
Challenge:  A book with a one-word title

Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare

Shadowhunter Academy

 

If you are a fan of the Mortal Instruments series this book is an important read. I went into it believing it would only be a book to hold me over while I waited for new books. But unlike most companion novels this book not only built on already established characters and plot lines but also added some new ones.

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Taylor Horkan
Rating: Highly Recommended

 

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness.

A continuation of the All Souls Trilogy also known as shadow of nightThe Discovery of Witches trilogy), this book continues to follow Matthew and Diana, as they travel to late 1500’s London (and around Europe as well). It’s an amazing read, though (like the first book) it is quite long.

Read Matthew Lachkovic’s review of A Discovery of Witches.

Availability: SMCM Library and COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Matthew Lachkovic
Rating: Highly Recommended

The Quick By Lauren Owen

The QuickIf you are looking for a good, old-fashioned vampire novel, look no further than Lauren Owen’s The Quick. For the first 150 pages, you may think that Owen’s novel (her first) will be a straightforward, conventional tale of orphaned siblings in Victorian England. Then, James Norbury finds himself a reluctant member of the Aegolius Club, a secret society for the wealthy (and undead). After James goes missing, his sister Charlotte travels to London to search for him. Like the heroine of any Gothic novel, Charlotte finds herself navigating a underground London populated by dangerous characters: child vampires, a pair of “Van Helsings,” and the mysterious Doctor Knife. Like Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Owen plays with narrative and form to encompass the thoughts of both the (un)dead and the “quick.” Only the narrative of Charlotte, our virginal heroine, falls flat. Overall, however, Owen has written a dark, compelling story of the monsters within us all. No sparkly vampires in sight.

Availability:  COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Kaitlyn Grigsby
Rating: Highly Recommended

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of WitchesMy gosh. Absolutely great, addictive book, but it is looong. Usually I can read a book in a few days, but this took me two weeks. I still highly recommend it as now I’m reading the second one in the series.

The book starts off with Diana, a witch who basically tries to avoid magic as much as she can, and yet it keeps coming back to her. Soon, she’s following by a family of vampires, a haven of witches, and the occasional daemon. Find out what these “creatures” (as the book called them) are up to in this very hooking initiative to a series.

“Witch and Yale historian Diana Bishop discovers an enchanted manuscript, attracting the attention of 1,500-year-old vampire Matthew Clairmont. The orphaned daughter of two powerful witches, Bishop prefers intellect, but relies on magic when her discovery of a palimpsest documenting the origin of supernatural species releases an assortment of undead who threaten, stalk, and harass her. ” (Publisher’s Weekly)

Availability: SMCM Library and COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Matthew “Him again?!” Lachkovic
Rating: Highly Recommended with Reservations