Sunday, April 24, 2011

Book Review: The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks

Photo taken from Goodreads

Book Info

Title:  The Reformed Vampire Support Group
Author:  Catherine Jinks
Publisher:  Harcourt Children's Books
Language: English
Format: Hardcover
Pages:  368 pages
ISBN - 13:  978-0152066093
Source:  Purchased, Celina's Books and Mags


From Goodreads: 
"Think vampires are romantic, sexy, and powerful? Think again. Vampires are dead. And unless they want to end up staked, they have to give up fanging people, admit their addiction, join a support group, and reform themselves.
Nina Harrison, fanged at fifteen and still living with her mother, hates the Reformed Vampire Support Group meetings every Tuesday night. Even if she does appreciate Dave, who was in a punk band when he was alive, nothing exciting ever happens. That is, until one of group members is mysteriously destroyed by a silver bullet. With Nina (determined to prove that vamps aren't useless or weak) and Dave (secretly in love with Nina) at the helm, the misfit vampires soon band together to track down the hunter, save a werewolf, and keep the world safe from the likes of themselves."

We've always viewed vampires as these beautiful, seductive, and dead-strong creatures of the night.  We're led to believe the stories of their cold, calculating murderous gazes and their ability to kill us in the blink of an eye (or a bite in the neck as is the case).  But have you ever wondered how an undead person, no blood in his/her veins, unable to ingest foods that provide protein and carbohydrates, unable to absorb vitamin D in sunshine -since they can't get out in the sun (Edward Cullen, et. al  notwithstanding), can survive and even posses superhuman abilities?  I just don't get it.  Pop culture's vampires just defy common sense.
Enter Catherine Jinks' The Reformed Vampire Support Group.  A new breed of vampires who are neither strong nor beautiful nor cunning - these vampires are totally eligible for hospice care and no human would even be harmed.  They are almost always tired, weak, unable to stare at bright lights for fear of hemorrhage, and none looks like the vampires of famous vampire books that have romanticized those beings.  Yes, I know the Everything you know about vampires is wrong thing has been getting old for quite some time already but I am overlooking that fact with this book since it's so funny.  And you know how I love anti-paranormal fiction.  In the great tradition of I Kissed A Zombie, and I Liked It by Adam Selzer, you probably get that I am that kind of reader who loves those hilarious books that poke fun at these romanticized creatures that most people would go crazy over. 

Which is why while most people would probably roll their eyes and think, Not another vampire book, I am totally endorsing this book to all readers out there who would just like to read a humorous, light story that pokes a little fun on perhaps one of the most formidable paranormal character out there.  And that's not just because this book is hilarious.  Other aspects of this book are very solid and spot on that it might lead you to believe, in some parts of this book, that the popular vampire lore is just so stupid and impractical and would even have an urge to hail Jinks as the new Anne Rice (or Stephenie Meyer?  Bram Stoker?) for the realistic portrayal of a fictional character that has for ages been believed as frightful and powerful, which is the complete opposite of these pathetic, down-on-their-luck beings.  The voices are captured in a way that you would think every character had their own chapter in the book when really, the whole story is told by Nina, this really apathetic and pessimistic vampire.  You get to know more about her through her narrative than through whatever she might tell you about herself.  The same goes for the other characters - they or the narrator would tell you something about them, but the way they would speak and act would help you better in getting to know them.  It's like watching their movie and reading their book at the same time because they appear so vivid in your head you're afraid you might be hallucinating (which I may be).  

As for the plot, it is simple enough to understand and too uncomplicated that no reader would think it's hard to wade through or very inconsistent with prior developments.  I like that Ms. Jinks once mentioned in her website:  "My mantra for writing fantasy/paranormal fiction is 'realistic, realistic, realistic'."  And it shows.  No need to use very intricate devices in bringing out a story to a thrilling climax and satisfactory resolution, she was able to bring the story to quite an undemanding but very vindicating close, and even though some would disagree that the novel is altogether devoid of 'complications,' all of them were dealt quite simply and the readers never get confused.

I would also like to point out that for me, the book cover totally hits the mark on how the characters looked.  My brother also noticed that on this book and it really helped us understand and appreciate this story and its characters more, and made it even more funny and vivid.

So go ahead and grab a copy of this book.  I heard that the new book off this series is out, The Abused Werewolf Support Group, and if I were you, better read this book first before getting the new one.  To help you laugh at and feel for them some more.

If you have any questions on this particular rating, please refer to my ratings system here.


All opinions expressed in this book review are my own and not influenced by any party in any way.

Please contact me for questions, comments, and suggestions.  

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