In The Blood by Lucien Maier

In The Blood by Lucien MaierMaier delivers an interesting take on the origin of vampires, and the possible society that would stem from it.

While climbing in Utah, Taylor and his friend Scott discover the lair of a vampire. After accepting his offer to turn them, and helping each other through the change the friends separate. Travelling across the country by motorbike, Taylor is drawn into a battle between vampires who wish to control their blood thirst, and those who revel in their hunger.

Maier’s vampire history is well explained, and supports the large presence of vampires without falling back on the usual explanation of massive institutional control of the police and media. The extent to which many vampires are as ignorant as the general populace is particularly plausible.

However, the resolution of the plot itself suffers from a lack of equal depth. Taylor is very powerful, especially for his age, but there is little explanation beyond his being special for why this is. Combined with the lack of mistakes he makes developing his powers, this makes severely weakens the tension.

The characterisation similarly lacks complexity in places. Taylor and Scott begin as interesting characters with a strong back story. However – despite this shared history containing no experience or even apparent interest in the supernatural – they accept vampires exist and agree to become them in the space of a few conflict-free paragraphs.

This lack of showing the conflict characters undergo is especially clear with Scott. He is exactly the same as before he turned when Taylor leaves. Then, with only a single mention that he did not answer his phone to suggest something might have happened, he reappears with a vastly different personality having undergone exactly the emotional journey that is mostly missing from Taylor’s narrative.

However, this issue is much less evident in minor characters. Both Taylor’s old friends and the members of vampire society he encounters have distinct and engaging personalities. Taken together with the interesting history Maier has created, this somewhat balances the simplicity of the protagonist.

I enjoyed the ideas in this novel. I recommend it to fans of non-erotic vampire fiction seeking a quick fix.

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