Tuesday, September 15, 2015
First Published: 2015
The Blurb: When Tacoma finds out that the Honored Elders gave his wife, Helen, an ultimatum under a death threat he asks her to hide with Seattle and his son Menelik as he plunges head first into preparations for war.
He blackmails FBI agent Shane Tyson to give him the classified weaponry used to kill vampires. Tacoma sends Iron Head and Slow Poke to different cities to recruit new GANGPIRE disciples, while he and Raider join forces with a vampire revolutionary group called The Modern Collective. Yes, Raider is back and asserts himself to be Tacoma's right hand again. It seems as if the Gangpire gang has it all figured out, and then chaos erupts.
Helen's hideout was the farthest thing from safe, Iron Head gets unexpectedly side tracked on his mission, and Slow Poke can't find enough soldiers on his out of state trip. After becoming separated from Helen, Seattle disobeys her brother and takes the mischievous Menelik and his pet hyena to the exact place Tacoma didn't want them to be, Oakland, California, which turns into a fiasco within itself. Starburst resurfaces to wreak havoc, and on top of all that Tacoma learns that he himself is a bigger danger to his family and friends than his adversaries are. Find out who will survive this anarchic journey of torture, slaughter, and black magic as new enemies are established, old feuds are rekindled, and friends become traitors in this final instalment of the critically praised Gangpire trilogy.
The review: Book 1 successfully merged street and gang culture with the vampire genre (no mean feat in itself) and Book 2 defied convention and reinvented itself as a fantasy book. With the final part of the story, Sentu Taylor returns to a gang meets urban fantasy setting as he paints the streets with blood and the vampires fight each other.
He has drawn a world where characters Tacoma and Helen are just too powerful to be allowed to live but just powerful enough that they could throw off the yoke of the traditionalist rulers of vampirism. He also adds a streak of devilish humour personified in his Menelik character (the rapidly growing, physically at least, son of the two primary protagonists). Of course, by pitching vampire against vampire he is able to ratchet up the characters’ power but the humans play at least a small role (the FBI having developed anti-vampire technology).
One new piece of lore that is added is the idea that because Tacoma became a vampire through an occult ritual then all the vampires descended from him will die if he does. Tacoma has become a were-hyena as well as a vampire and we also get vampiric hyenas in the final battle. Other than that we follow the lore as set out through the series.
I need to mention the ending as I thought it was particularly brave as set out – if not exactly feel good. Just in case that was too much for some readers the author offers an alternative ending as well, with more of a feel good vibe.
The pace is riotous, whilst the slang does not detract. I was amused however by the use of the slang word hella (which was a constant through the three books) having discovered that (apparently) in the Russian Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary it is suggested “that Hella was the name given to girls who died too early, and became vampires after.” Absolute coincidence but a hella good one! And a hella good finale as well. 7.5 out of 10.