I will admit: I did not buy this book for myself. It was given to me as a Christmas present by a good friend of mine, who knows my sense of humor and my love of vampires, no matter how saturated the market is. So when VAMPED showed up in my brand new Kindle as a gift from her, I was wary—but willing to trust my friend. She knew me, knew what I liked in vampires, knew the basics. I’d trust her judgment.
And was I ever right to.
VAMPED takes the “vampires and humans live together now!” concept and turns it on its head: vampires are the dominant race now. Humans are few and far between, and those who survive are hunted mercilessly. Anything that humans use which vampires have no use for (for example, Lucky Charms) are considered collectables and will go for very high prices on Ebay. Marty Kowalski is our illustrious narrator, one of the movers-and-shakers behind the vampiric race being what it is today and a war veteran from back in the days when we still gave wars numbers. And after this many years of immortal life, it’s started to lose its sheen.
Enter the mortal: Isuzu Trooper Cassidy. (Yes, that’s a little girl, not a car, despite the sharing a name.)
The book walks through the absolutely hysterical tale of Marty desperately trying to raise this small mortal girl he’s become somewhat inexplicably attached to, in a world where being mortal is a flaw, not a feature. We watch Isuzu get older, come to terms with the manner in which she’s been taken in my Marty, and slowly but surely see a relationship begin to grow between them. What that is changes throughout the book, and it’s so in-depth and interesting that I’m going to keep quiet about it in fear of spoiling some of the magic.
Marty’s sense of humor is everything I love about these books. He’s fed up with his world, his life, everything—and it shows in the way he deals with the world. He’s sarcastic, he breaks the fourth wall, he lives in a perpetual state of pseudo-anachronism. Every other page convinced me that he needed to somehow meet the main character of my manuscript and be best friends. (They’d get along so well.) But under the rough exterior he tries to keep up, we get a chance to see beneath it, to see the man he once was and wishes he could somehow be again. We see the heart that used to beat in his chest, we see the love he still clings to. We see his humanity through that which he wishes he could do, and that which he does instead. It’s a fascinating balance, all delivered in a snark that would make anyone proud.
My one “issue” with the book, and what got me hung up on whether to give this book a 4 or 5 star rating, was the ending. There’s a lot riding up to the end, a lot of hype as it were, and at the end it feels like it all just got dropped. I felt cheated out of something, though I couldn’t tell you what. For a while it bothered me, and I was going to give it 4 stars, when I really went back and looked at the last chapter or so and realized: I’m not alone in that feeling. Marty feels that way too. All of this was building for him as well, and it didn’t quite turn out the way he wanted. And because of his role in this whole story, I think that’s the way it should have ended. It’s a parental kind of novel, and parents often don’t get everything they want for their child. It all ends for the best, if not the way Marty was hoping. And that’s okay. I’d rather the ending feel realistic than perfect.
All in all, a wonderful book. I’d definitely recommend picking it up, and I’m likely to go hunting for something else this author’s written as well.
Rating: ***** (Highest Recommendation)