Monday, April 11, 2016

An Unattractive Vampire – review

Author: Jim McDoniel

First published: 2016

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: Jim McDoniel’s debut novel, An Unattractive Vampire, is a darkly comic urban fantasy of ancient horrors in suburban cities. After three centuries trapped underground, thousand-year-old Yulric Bile―also known as the Curséd One, the Devil’s Apprentice, He Who Worships the Slumbering Horrors―awakens only to find that no one believes he is a vampire. Apparently he’s just too ugly―modern vampires, he soon discovers, are pretty, weak, and, most disturbing of all, good. Determined to reestablish his bloodstained reign, Yulric sets out to correct this disgusting turn of events or, at the very least, murder the person responsible. With the help of pert vampire-wannabe Amanda; Simon, the eight-year-old reincarnation of his greatest foe; and a cadre of ancient and ugly horrors, Yulric prepares to battle the glamorous undead. But who will win the right to determine, once and for all, what it truly means to be a vampire?

The review: When I started reading this I was unsure as to what to expect. Clearly, from the blurb, a comedy the fact that the title drew the mind to the recent spate of attractive vampires (these, of course, are nothing new within the media vampire but they seem to have reach a zenith) I seriously wondered whether the jokes would wear a little thin. Not so.

The book opens in the present day but quickly jumps back three centuries to the (then latest) demise of vampire Yulric Bile. Having drawn a group of puritans into a devil worshiping cult – just for kicks – he decides to stage his own death to escape the Witchfinder that hunted him. Unfortunately this particular witchfinder was canny and managed to seal the vampire into his cellar dug tomb.

In the modern day, with him newly released, he is a bit put out when vampire wannabe Amanda doesn’t recognise him as a vampire – questions of whether he is a werewolf or even a zombie come up. The reason being that Amanda knows that vampires are attractive and Yulric is most certainly not a looker. Once he sees the show the Phantom Vampire Mysteries – a TV show that Amanda knows is produced by real vampires (and she’s right) – Yulric starts a quest to put an end to attractive vampires (though he wishes to do that without leaving the show vulnerable to cancelation, given he becomes a bit of a fan).

This was a genuinely humorous book, with nice crisp prose that at times were laugh out loud funny. The clash between ugly, evil vampirism and apparently good guy attractive vampires was handled with a deft touch that means that if you are a fan of the latter sort you should enjoy the book just as much as someone attracted towards media that is backlashing against pretty boy (and girl) vamps.

8 out of 10.

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