Reviews, Vlogs

Reading Spooky Books

I was either super smart or super silly as I decided to spend a week reading a seasonal read every day. Seven spooky or at least, Halloween-esque books! Anything scary, spooky, creepy, or vaguely Halloween themed was eligible for this self imposed challenge.

I also went on a wee book haul that I couldn’t resist! In my defence, the majority of the books were holiday purchases but I can easily find an excuse for breaking my book buying ban. I was doing so well!

My vlog

Books included in this blog are:

Carmilla by Sheridan le Fanu

Cutthroat Cupcakes byCate Lawley

Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice

A Pale Box on the Distant Shore by P.J. Nwosu *

Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice

The Final Girls Support Group by Grady Hendrix

How to Kill Men and Get Away With It by Katy Brent

*gifted

Reviews

Interview With the Vampire

This is the story of Louis, as told in his own words, of his journey through mortal and immortal life. Louis recounts how he became a vampire at the hands of the radiant and sinister Lestat and how he became indoctrinated, unwillingly, into the vampire way of life. His story ebbs and flows through the streets of New Orleans, defining crucial moments such as his discovery of the exquisite lost young child Claudia, wanting not to hurt but to comfort her with the last breaths of humanity he has inside. Yet, he makes Claudia a vampire, trapping her womanly passion, will, and intelligence inside the body of a small child. Louis and Claudia form a seemingly unbreakable alliance and even “settle down” for a while in the opulent French Quarter. Louis remembers Claudia’s struggle to understand herself and the hatred they both have for Lestat that sends them halfway across the world to seek others of their kind. Louis and Claudia are desperate to find somewhere they belong, to find others who understand, and someone who knows what and why they are.

Louis and Claudia travel Europe, eventually coming to Paris and the ragingly successful Theatre des Vampires–a theatre of vampires pretending to be mortals pretending to be vampires. Here they meet the magnetic and ethereal Armand, who brings them into a whole society of vampires. But Louis and Claudia find that finding others like themselves provides no easy answers and in fact presents dangers they scarcely imagined.

To the shock and surprise of my closest friends, I have not previously read this book. As a lover of vampire fiction and gothic fiction, it makes sense that I’d have read and loved this book way before now. However, I was always to scared to read this book.

Back in 1998, my sister and I decided to watch the film adaptation, Interview With a Vampire. I was so scared! I wanted to watch it but was so scared that I had to listen to music via headphones while reading the subtitles. I listened to Hanson’s debut album on a discman, very 90s! So Hanson will forever make me think of vampires! I did enjoy the film but I couldn’t sleep for a long time so I was very apprehensive. I’m older now and not a great deal braver but I found the book to still be scary but I knew a lot of what was going to happen, so I managed to sleep soundly without the aid of Hanson.

The entire book takes the form of an interview with flashbacks. Louis just remembering his life in New Orleans and Paris, before choosing a life of solitude. I feel like I really got to know him as a character and to feel sympathetic towards him. He worked so hard to maintain a level of humanity which was so unlike Lestat who had sired him.

Louis and Claudia had a relationship which did sometimes lean towards the ick. Mainly due to Claudia being forever in the body of a 5 year old. I found her to be the most sympathetic of the characters as she was turned at such a young age. She never really had a chance to live.

I found the sections in Paris to be so exciting and fast paced. Meeting the other vampires was just so terrifying and just felt like there was danger at every turn. My memory of the film was a bit hazy so I couldn’t remember much of the plot other than there being a lot of blood, so my enjoyment was not reduced for having seen the film.

The writing was just exquisite and I felt myself just happily consuming it.

I found this book to just be so tense and I really was kept guessing what was going to happen. I couldn’t put it down and I finished this book within a day, I regret nothing! Other than waiting so long to read this book and I will be making my way through the series as soon as I work my way through so other reading goals.

Reviews

Certain Dark Things

Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is just trying to survive its heavily policed streets when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, is smart, beautiful, and dangerous. Domingo is mesmerized.

Atl needs to quickly escape the city, far from the rival narco-vampire clan relentlessly pursuing her. Her plan doesn’t include Domingo, but little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his undeniable charm. As the trail of corpses stretches behind her, local cops and crime bosses both start closing in.

Vampires, humans, cops, and criminals collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive? Or will the city devour them all?

I honestly think that I’ve found a new auto-buy author in Silvia Moreno-Garcia. This was my fourth book by this author and it was another 4 star read (I think the tally for this author’s ratings is now 2×5 star and 2×4 star). Each book has been so different with the only common thread being a love for Mexico. I listened to the audiobook and found the narrator to have a delightful voice and it was surprisingly soothing to listen to despite the book being very exciting. I actually think that listening to the audiobook stopped me from reading ahead…because I had to wait for the narrator.

The setting of this book really was atmospheric. The book was set in a futuristic Mexico City where vampires were known by all and there are officials tracking them down as they do not want vampires in the city. Humans are registered and licensed and IDs checked by officers during their regular raids. This book was very much in the Noir genre but also set in the future with vampires so I have no idea how to categorise this book so I’ll just say that I really enjoyed it and I can’t wait to read more by this author as each book has been a treat.

I am a sucker (lol) for a vampire book, this wasn’t my only vampire novel this month. This book made me think differently as the vampires in this book weren’t the standard vampire that I knew from literature or tv. Atl’s vampire type was based on an Aztec bird and she had the most gorgeous wings and was graceful (like a bird). Whereas the vampire seeking Atl, Nick, was the more traditional type of vampire as he could control people with just one nibble.

Atl was a somewhat grumpy vampire with her enhanced dog, just trying to live under the radar while trying to carry out her revenge plan but also to escape the city where she is in danger. Domingo worked collecting waste but had previously worked for a Fagan style criminal who used the young kids to go and do his bidding. He was just a kid and he was unbelievably sweet and just obsessed with the vampires he’d read about. The relationship between Domingo and Atl was really quite sweet. He was so insistent upon them being friends and was so eager to help her. He wasn’t scared of vampires and was happy to offer his veins to her. Atl was not looking for a friend or sidekick. She just needed somebody to act as a go between as it was too risky for her. However she ended up warming towards Domingo and they because friends and it was just enjoyable to read.

The book also included Ana who was a crooked police investigator but she was so much more than that. Yes she was a crooked officer but it was only so that she could provide the best for her daughter. Doing the wrong this but for the right reason, for me makes the character a bit more morally grey than just being good or bad. That was something I enjoyed.

This book was so exciting! It had gang wars between different sub-species of vampires, crooked police, and engineered animals. The battles in this book were violent as one would expect from a fight between the undead, but they weren’t violent for the sake of it. Everything in this book felt like it was there for a reason.

As with previous Silvia Moreno-Garcia books, this book included so many snippets of Mexican history that I ended up taking notes of things I wanted to Google and learn more about. Mainly about Aztec history.

I have seen this book described as YA but I really don’t think that it is. The book is extremely violent in parts and has some sexy bits. If you’re looking for a book set in the Mexican underworld with vampire rivalries then I highly recommend this book. I already have my next Silvia Moreno-Garcia read planned!