Unlike many modern vampire stories this novel is neither a thinly concealed rewrite of a classic tale nor filled with novelty for the sake of novelty. In particular the origin story of vampires provides a reasonable explanation for their powers without making them merely humans with powers.
The story centres on Olivia Cohen, who has spent the first seventeen years of her life in a gated community of immortality seekers. As daughter of the community leader she barely questioned spending her days sleeping and her nights drinking blood and learning the skills of a hunter. Now she is preparing for the rite of passage into adulthood; hunting a human for the first time. Torn between the safe but restrictive atmosphere of the community and the confusion of the outside world she struggles over whether to use this opportunity to leave permanently. However when a mysterious woman grants her the true vampirism the community seeks she finds herself unable to function in either world.
Although the plot of this book was sound and the background interesting, the prose style made it hard to read.
Many scenes were described with a few sentences containing three or four loosely linked clauses instead of a series of tighter shorter sentences; this made some of the exposition a touch hard to follow and made action scenes lack impact.
In addition the story is told from a third person perspective which changes point-of-view several times in a scene, and occasionally part way through a paragraph. Much of the description of feelings and reactions were stated by that character instead of experienced by the narrator, divorcing the reader partially from the emotions.
The issues with the prose make it harder to give definitive statements on the nuances of characterisation. However, the main characters did display identifiable and consistent personalities and interactions. The impact of an inhuman upbringing was noticeable in the children without removing the opportunity for sympathy, and bickering and claustrophobia of a gated community felt very realistic.
While the scenes themselves sometimes seemed diffuse, the pace of the reveals was good. Explanations and new evidence were provided after Olivia had started to become frustrated but before the reader joined her, making her search for the right course engaging rather than irritating to share.
Olivia’s struggle to accept or reject the community was brought to a believable conclusion without resolving the greater arc of the identities and goals other players in the vampiric struggle maintaining the sense that this story was part of a larger world, and leaving the opportunity for a sequel.
Overall I found this book a mixed experience. For me the story was just good enough to rise above the prose, so I would recommend it to people who are looking for a new perspective on vampirism and are able to turn off their inner editor.
I received a free copy of this book.