Thursday, August 18, 2011

Revamped by J.F. Lewis

Revamped is the sequel to Staked, a novel about the master vampire Eric and his latest vampire girlfriend Tabitha. Much like the first book, Revamped is a book that features a lot of sex and violence and shows vampires as the big and nasty creatures of the night they are. In short, this is a book that shows vampires as VAMPIRES!

(If you are still with me after that intro, then you are a true vampire fan so read on.)

Revamped picks up where Staked left off. Master vampire Eric had been blown up along with his strip-club and he is now floating around as a ghost. However there are still people loyal (and scared) of him, so his followers/friends/lackeys successfully resurrected (if that’s the right word to use for a vampire) him back into a vampire body. Once he got his body back, Eric sought out a way to retrieve his old girlfriend’s Marilyn's soul and has to cut a deal with a demon named J'iliol'lth for information to do so.

In the meantime, Tabitha decided to throw her lot with the vampire high society and keep away from Eric. Her bewildering entry into high-end vampire world was filled with confusion and a dispiriting realization of the vicious vampire world she was joining. Adding to her problems was the discovery of her unique vampire power, Vampire Doll. A power that allowed Tabitha to mimic the body of human, this power made her a hot commodity in the vampire community but most of the vampires are more interested in her power than her.

As the novel goes on, the stories of Eric and Tabitha converged rather messily as vampires, demons, werewolves, ghosts, immortals and everything in between (cough, vampire car, cough) get involved in the story.

For fans of Staked, the good news is that Revamped is more of the same. The dark humor and the violence are still there while the point-of-view style of writing between Eric and Tabitha works again. Eric is still a bloodthirsty vampire who does what he wants, whenever he wants because he is powerful enough to get away with it. If that means ignoring the rules and killing a couple of vampires who looks like kids, then that’s what he is going to do. Just like in Staked, these aren’t your wimpy, vegan, do-not-kill-human Twilight vampires.

Also I like the fact that J.F. Lewis expanded the supporting cast by letting Eric gain a couple of thralls. The thralls were a little hit-and-miss but I like the idea of it. The author also fleshed out the supernatural world as well as the hierarchy of the vampires, usually in a humorous way. The vampire chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, grape sherbet explanation was a hoot and showcased the humor of the series.

However at times, it does go too far. J.F. Lewis never took the genre too seriously and while it worked beautifully most of the time, there were times in this book when I felt he went overboard. The vampire car idea is just stupid. I know some people might like the idea of a bloodthirsty car that need blood the way other cars need petrol, but it was just too crazy for me.

I also still have a problem with Eric’s power level. In Staked he was powerful, in Revamped he is almost a vampire god! That is a serious problem for me because there just doesn’t seem to be that much that would pose a danger to him. Even powerful vampires like Greta and Winter are like second-stringers compare to him. The idea of the vampire car being his Achilles heel doesn’t work for me because…well, the whole idea of a vampire car is just too much for me.

Still, people who like their vampires mean and vicious and their setting raw and gritty might want to give Revamped a look. If nothing else, it’s not Twilight.

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