Tuesday, 9 February 2010
‘Vampire Maker’ – Michael Schiefelbein (St. Martin’s Press)
One of the unwritten laws on this blog is to try and finish everything I pick up or, at the very least, give it a fair chance. I was aiming for the former when I picked up Schiefelbein’s ‘Vampire Maker’ but, in the end, had to settle for some of the latter instead. Sometimes life is just too short to keep reading out of sheer bloody-mindedness, just put the book down and try something else instead! That’s what I did. Here’s the blurb,
The fourth Victor Decimus vampire tale picks up four years after 2005's Vampire Transgression. In post-Katrina New Orleans, troubled new priest Charles Boisvert tries to purge his homosexual feelings with the help of therapist Dr. Beauchamp. The appearance of distressed yet beguiling young stranger Kyle at Charles's church jeopardizes the success of the treatment. Charles's family and even his immortal soul are endangered when vampire Victor begins a tug of war for Kyle's attentions while the Dark Kingdom, the vampire government, tries to keep Victor from becoming a rogue vampire maker and upsetting the natural balance forever...
I’ve read a fair few books in my time but ‘gay vampire erotica’ is a sub-genre that I’ve never really tried (although Laurell K. Hamilton hints at it a few times whenever she feels that Anita Blake has had a little too much ‘action’). In the interests of featuring different sub-genres on the blog I thought I’d give this one a go only to find out that Schiefelbein’s ‘gay vampire erotica’ is actually a big old dose of ‘gay vampire angst’... Forget the story, we’ve got three gay guys constantly deliberating over their sexuality (and who to hook up with) instead. Introspection is good, introspection at the cost of the story is not so good. It doesn’t matter whether characters are gay or not, if nothing is actually happening then you’ll find me rapidly running out of reasons to keep reading.
The following quote also made me stop and think, “what the f...?”
‘He needed a more hidden dwelling, one safe from the eyes of tourists who roamed the Garden District with their cameras, often led by guides with ghost stories to tell and vampire sightings to report – thanks to the author who had made her career on ridiculous stories about the undead.’
There is something deliciously ironic about a vampire living in New Orleans, spending his time walking its sultry streets whilst either feeding on its citizens or corrupting priests... and then complaining that he has been parodied by Anne Rice. The only problem is, given the rest of the book, I don’t think this was meant to be ironic at all. Schiefelbein was serious when he had Victor think this and that made the passage laughable, not in a good way either...
I got about a hundred and fifty pages in and then realised I didn’t actually care about any of the characters or the course they were set on, now was the time to stop. Given that the book is only two hundred and twenty eight pages long, the fact that I really couldn’t stir myself to finish the book says it all.
If you’re after a Gothic vampire fantasy where feelings are examined in depth, but not a lot actually happens, then ‘Vampire Maker’ could very well be just the book you’re looking for. It’s the latest in a series but has enough flashbacks to make jumping on board at this point easy enough. I’m after a little extra from my books though, ‘Vampire Maker’ just wasn’t for me in the end...