A friend recently asked for new vampire books, something different and unique. That reminded me of a book I had put on my “For Later” shelf at the library, so I bumped it up to check it out. It was the title, you see, that drew me. An Unattractive Vampire, are they even allowed?
It turned out that An Unattractive Vampire is intriguing and special in more than one way. It is published by Inkshares, the book publishers that crowdsource their selection process with some crowdfunding thrown in. The author, Jim McDoniel was standing in line behind some women discussing Twilight and was inspired to write the anti-Twilight. So, I have not read Twilight, I tried, but could not do it. I watched half of the first film. That this book was inspired by a bit of Twilight loathing made me anticipate some fun.
An Unattractive Vampire delivers on the fun. Jim McDoniel is a witty, amusing writer. He can also move things along. For example, if you have read any of the Nicholas Flamel series, it can take an entire book to meet and greet everyone who needs to gather to handle the bad guys. McDoniel can handle that gathering of the gang in one chapter. This is such a relief as there is nothing more boring that hail-fellow-well-met catch me up on the gossip sessions in chapter after chapter after chapter when all they are doing is getting a bunch of folks together to go bust heads.
Amanda, a sassy young woman who likes the sparkly vampires and wants to be one, discovers than an ancient vampire is buried in her basement. She digs him up, expecting glittery glamour, but instead Yulric Bile is, as the title says, unattractive. Very unattractive, in fact Amanda does not believe he is a vampire, or vampyr as he insists on calling it. A werewolf or a zombie, maybe, not a vampire.
Yulric has been asleep for 300 years so she sets him down in front a TV to catch up on progress. When she insists on watching her favorite show, a vampire soap opera, Yulric is fascinated, even obsessed. He must meet thing, but the meeting is disastrous as he discovers the modern vampires have been genetically engineered, and worse, they are not evil.
Well, this means war and that’s what we have, a sarcastic, caperish war between the old ways and modernity…and we are all firmly on the side of the ancients. Of course, it’s all incredibly violent in the kind of Richard Rodriguez violence-is-funny way. Particularly since the ancient vampires most definitely don’t want to kill the new vampires because then they won’t know how the soap opera turns out. So yes, it’s hilarious at times.
An Unattractive Vampire is a light book. a quick and easy read. There is a message to readers about our obsession with physical beauty, or its lack. There’s plenty of action and things keep chugging along, keeping me intrigued and turning the pages. There is one glaring weakness, though. It is unclear what motivates some of the characters. Why doesn’t Yulric just kill Amanda and Simon, for example. Why don’t they kill him? But if you quit asking why and just sit back for the ride, it will be a fun one.