Review of THE REFORMED VAMPIRE SUPPORT GROUP by Catherine Jinks (see her website)
Harcourt, April 2009
Perpetual teen Nina Harrison may write about romantic and powerful vampires but her "life" is nothing like that. She's sick much of the time, doesn't much like the other vampires in her support group, still lives with her aging mother, subsists on guniea pig blood, and doesn't get out much. But when Casimir, one of the vampires in her group (the one who 'fanged' her, converting her to vampirism thirty years earlier), is staked, she finds herself having to do more, to actually put herself in danger. Some of those superpowers really would come in handy.
Tracking down the buyers of American-made silver bullets takes Nina, another vampire Dave, and their priest/counselor Father Ramon, across Australia where they discover not more vampires but a family that puts on werewolf shows, with werewolves battling to the death before screaming fans. Nina's life gets complicated when one of those vampires, Reuben, actually seems interested. Because Nina, with her bad haircut, nerdy complexion, and scrawny body, simply doesn't attract guys.
When the werewolf hunters follow Nina and her team back to Sydney, they hook up with the man who staked Casimir and Nina finds herself forced to step up another level.
Author Catherine Jinks creates a clever alternate to the over-used uber-vampire. Nina and the other members of her support group are anything but the glamorous superheroes of Laurel K. Hamilton or Stephanie Meyers. What they are, however, is people a reader can identify with. They have their problems, try to deal with their limitations, and confront their fears. Jinks's writing is straightforward but enjoyable. Sometimes the plot slows down while Nina and the others worry about what to do next, but their worrying is a part of the story. Overall, I enjoyed THE REFORMED VAMPIRE SUPPORT GROUP a lot.
Too generous? Too stingy. Or did I miss the whole point? Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll publish the best letters I get so let me know if I can use your name.
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