What is "Metaliterature"? It is literature about literature, in this case, views, reviews, and thoughts provoked by stuff I've read. I'm hoping this might be a chronicle of the brain of a life-long reader as guided by intertextual coincidence. If you like what you read, read what I like.
Currently domiciled in the Vale of Glamorgan.
To review this book, another long-held and seldom contemplated work
brought to the forefront of the consciousness by the persistent presence of the
author on somemicro-blogging
siteor other, without first making clear a
disclaimer for said review would be unjust, and I'm just the sort of chap to be
completely unjust, just for the sake of it. And also for the cheap laughs.
Therefore, before continuing, I must state the following:
1. This book has teenage
vampires in it
2. It is also ostensibly
a book for teenagers
3. The author of this
book writes other books for teenagers
4. I made a mistake in
reading this book
Number 4 could well do with a quick explanation. I regret nothing,
except that I appear to have wilfully disregarded the majority of publicity
that I had read both about the book and the author, and was at first surprised
by numbers 1 to 3, and then disappointed that I hadn't remembered that I already
knew all this.
And yet I persevered! I don’t just give up because my brain
malfunctioned, oh no! And what I found on continuing to read was a slick,
televisual teenage novel about things like growing up feeling different, fitting
in, power without responsibility, and love, lots of foamy, churning,
eye-watering teenage love. And vampires.
So, the premise is that vampires (no sparkly-skinned, mouth-open, wooden
acting nonsense here no siree bob) are real, live alongside humans in places
like Manchester, and are gently policed by a sinister shadow society that makes
sure blood is available for the thirsty and murderous rampages are a thing of
the past, in close collaboration with the Unnamed Predator Unit of the Greater
Manchester Police. However, the eponymous family of vampires (sorry,
unavoidable spoiler here but after two pages I’m pretty sure it would have
become obvious even to a thirteen year old) has a naughty uncle called Will who
carries on regardless. When the thirst hits the daughter and she [CENSORED FOR
YOUNGER READERS] Pete “Vampire Papa” Radley calls on him to come sort it out.
Cue all sorts of family discord and complications.
There’s lots going on, and in an adult novel I think could have been
developed more fully into something deeper, darker and naughtier. However, not
having read a novel for a teenage audience since I was about 10 (Lord of the Rings
doesn’t count - I don’t think a teenager would sit still long enough to get
clear of the terrifyingly dull first 100 pages these days so it can rest easy
in the adult beardy weirdo genre*) it was still surprisingly deep, dark and
naughty. I certainly won’t be recommending it to my 2 year old anytime soon.
Nonetheless, it lacked sophistication, from my jaded world-weary point of view,
and plot twists were clearly signposted for a younger audience, rendering it
less satisfying. But then I can’t remember being a teenager (those years are
nebulous and mystifying – certainly a possible side-effect of heavy drinking
towards the end there) so perhaps I would have lapped it up.
To give credit where it’s due, it’s a good, flowing read, and conjures
images to mind almost like it was written for television. Thankfully it also
steers clear of the turgid tripe of those other vampire novels (I blame Anne
Rice) and is pretty well believable. But whether verisimilitude is a sought-after
quality in fantasy horror for teens is another matter. You may decide for
*I probably do beardy weirdoes a disservice, for would that I was able
to grow a beard I too would probably sport one and thus become a weirdo myself.
However, I don’t so they are fair game.