Sunday, April 18, 2010

Staked by J.F. Lewis

It’s impossible nowadays to enter a bookstore without seeing piles of vampire novels all over the place. Most of the time the novels are about a female vampire, a woman who falls for a vampire, a female magic-user, a woman with supernatural abilities, a woman…you get the picture, the main character almost HAS to be a woman. It was fun for the first, I don’t know, 200 books but enough is enough!

Luckily, J.F. Lewis thought so as well. I found this most special vampire novel; a new vampire novel with a MALE lead character! Surprised? I sure was, I mean Eric (the male main character in this book) is almost an endangered species! I almost had to pick up this book just for this twist alone (which tells you a lot about the state of the genre at this moment).

The book starts off leaving you in no doubts that Eric's got issues. He has memory problems and the book start off with him by a dead body; only problem…he can't remember who he killed and why he killed him! Worse he later discovered the dead was a business partner of his best friend, Roger, while the werewolf, who he later killed in self-defense, runs with the alpha werewolf in the area.

Being the undead he is, Eric tries to solve his problems vampire-style. He turned his girlfriend, Tabitha, into a vampire because that’s what she wanted. Then got into bed with Rachel, Tabitha’s younger sister, because she was cute and mortal. He then called in Greta, his adopted vampire daughter to help him against the werewolves and investigate how he got into the whole mess in the first place.

The book is spilt between Eric and Tabitha and told from their point of view. Most of the time this works fine as the two are on the direct opposite spectrum of the vampire world. One is a powerful veteran vampire, while the other is almost a new-born. I like the fact this is a pretty funny book. Despite being a powerful vampire with bad memory and a nasty temper, Eric doesn’t really take himself that seriously. The dialogue between him and Greta was hilarious as Greta tried her best to be a nice daughter despite being a powerful psychotic vampire herself.

The way Eric adapts to his lousy memory loss is also quite funny. He is a go-with-the-flow vampire because most of the time, he don’t know why he’s in trouble but knows he probably did do…something to piss off the people after him. His reaction when he discovered why he got memory loss was the funniest thing I read in a vampire book for some time.

I loved the violence in this book. The vampire world is violent and Eric is a product of this world. Although he does have blood stored, Eric preferred to hunt humans for the blood he needs. Not only that, he kills them because he find it more thrilling this way. When they attack the werewolves, he and Greta had no problems killing any young or elderly wolves they found. In fact, they went in with a desire to kill any male, woman and child in the werewolf camp. These are not your wimpy, vegan, do-not-kill-human vampires from Twilight. They are big, bad and nasty; the way vampires SHOULD be!

However some readers may have problems with the book. For one thing, Eric is a jerk. His treatment of Tabitha is bad, especially after turning her into a vampire. He treats his undead life as something of a joke and as such, he is capable of doing some very nasty things. He does not have any problems laughing his guts out while killing and had even killed other vampires he turned before Tabitha.

Another thing is Eric’s relationships with his friends and loved ones. His relationship with Greta is twisted and not really comfortable reading (even to me). It’s father-daughter, but Greta is clearly crazy and Eric seemingly indulgence of her behavior at times make thing worse! Greta’s calling Tabitha ‘mother’ being case in point.

The biggest problem for me however is how powerful Eric is. At times, I wonder why he bothered to call in Greta because he don’t need her. He is so powerful he could have taken on the werewolves himself without any trouble. It’s a mismatch really and takes some of the tension away when you know there’s really nothing the wolves could have done to Eric. I mean the reason why Batman is more popular than Superman is because he can be hurt. That’s not the case here. Even at the end when he got blown up in pieces, Eric still managed to survive (in a way).

Not perfect, but this was an interesting read.


Jeremy F. Lewis said...

Glad you enjoyed the book, Ghost.

One of my favorite parts about writing Eric is that he's such an unreliable narrator. That's one of the reasons I included Tabitha's point of view. Eric is not as "bad" as he thinks he is, yet he's no where near as "good" as Tabitha sees him. Eric's honest with pretty much everyone but himself and Tabitha's opinion are tainted by her affection for Eric, so the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Of course, you'll see an even more interesting side of Eric in Crossed (Void City, book 3) when we get a taste of Greta's and Talbot's points of view.

I won't say much about Eric's power level, other than to mention that he's not as unkillable as he thinks he is (heck, he's not even right about what exactly he is or what's up with his memory in the first book) and that half of the fun for me is throwing him up against problems he can't solve with brute force. Things like Vampire High Society and Demonic Contract Law, both of which he encounters in ReVamped, are definitely his kryponite.

Thanks again for the kind words and for taking the time to read and review Staked! :)

Ghost said...

Wow. This is the first time an author actually commented on my blog about a review I wrote (I’M FLYING…). Thanks for taking the time Mr. Lewis and I look forward to the rest of the books. Thanks