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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

VAEMPIRES: REVOLUTION by Thomas Winship (Review)

My rating: 3.5 stars

Vaempires: Revolution begins in the middle of an uprising. Not as the first shot is fired, not as the last body falls to the ground--right in the middle of the action. Love this choice. Right away I know I'm in for something original.

The book takes place hundreds--perhaps even thousands of years--in the future. Not only post-apocalypse, but post-rebuilding-post-apocalypse. Humans have destroyed themselves, brought on a nuclear winter, survived an ice age. Vampires have evolved. There's already been a long period of war between humans and vampires that ended in a peaceful treaty with the two races ruling side-by-side. And now, centuries after the treaty, a new race of beings has evolved from the vampires called vaempires. Faster, stronger, warm-blooded and sometimes possessing abilities rivaling those of the X-Men, vaempires are fed up with being feared, ignored and neglected by the government and fellow citizens. They've decided to take matters into their own hands and rebel. But that all happens before this book even begins.

Vaempires: Revolution follows Daniel and Princess Cassandra--young lovers, vampires, and also now the world's leaders since their parents have been slaughtered--as they fight to survive a well-planned, coordinated attack on their capital city. Daniel is on one side of the city, attempting to stay alive while helping as many vampires and humans as he can find escape the slaughter. When he finds out that Cassie is in the city, he goes in search of her and just about gets himself killed in the process. Meanwhile Cassie's in the royal palace trying to find her mother's head so she can bury her properly when she runs into her ex-flame, Vielyn, who, it turns out, is the vaempire who has masterminded this bloody revolution. All he needs now are the codes to the bunkers where the last of the world's nuclear weapons are kept. But of course Cassie won't give those up willingly.

Did I mention there are zombies?

Despite the fact that Vaempires: Revolution is more straight-up action-adventure--pretty much the entire book is one well-described, gory fight scene after another--and outside what I'd normally read, I liked this book. The premise is unique and engaging. It is an intense read (no fingernails left when I was done) that keeps up a swift pace. The main characters are three-dimensional and sympathetic--even, in my opinion, the villain Vielyn. And the feminist in me appreciated that Cassie turned out to be capable of taking care of herself rather than the angelic but ineffectual waif that Daniel sometimes seemed to think she was. And I didn't expect the ending at all. Hats off to Thomas Winship.

**Spoiler alert** Do not read past this point if you don't want spoilers.

There are two main reasons I gave this book only three and a half stars.

First, I got confused about how powerful vaempires really were. In the beginning of the book they're described as fairly invincible, but then Daniel seems to be on par with them because he keeps winning. His wins aren't really based on cunning, either. Vaempires are supposed to be faster, smarter, and far more powerful than vampires, but then Daniel takes the shok pak and they don't even see him coming? I would have thought it would just put him at the same level of speed and strength as them.

And then in the palace, Cassie is pretty helpless again Vielyn, but then she's able to defeat Simeon even though he has the ability become incorporeal? I'm not buying it. Don't get me wrong: I love that fight scene in the dungeon, and the way it ends is not only believable but satisfying...but I didn't get the impression that Vielyn was any more powerful than Simeon, so why should Cassie have no chance against Vielyn?

And I suppose I was confused too about how powerful vampires vs. zombies are supposed to be in the book. I don't get why Daniel on a shok pak has such a tough time defeating the slow-moving zombies. I get that they just keep getting up, but how do they even get a punch in? Especially with him on a shok pak?? There's no way.

The second reason I only gave this book three and a half stars is because of all the fighting. Maybe I'm just not cut out to read this genre, but it seems to me that if some of the fights in the streets had been glossed over, the more major fight scenes would have packed more punch, so to speak. I was definitely engaged for a lot of the action, and I think Winship does a great job of describing the fights and being really present in them. I could clearly see each fight...sometimes even feel them! But I can only read so many gushing eyeballs and crunching bones, etc. etc. before I'm desensitized to it, frankly.

You know what I really wanted though? I really wanted some kind of exploration of what it means to be vampire or vaempire. I wanted being a vampire to mean something besides living off synth blood and fighting with claws and teeth. But perhaps that happens in Vaempires: White Christmas, which I understand is a YA novel and has almost no violence in it at all.

For all my complaining, though, this book has some marked strengths: namely the originality of premise and opening, skillful descriptions, and action-packed scenes. If you love a good eyeball-gushing, bone-crunching, blood-spurting fight scene, this book is definitely for you. 
You can buy the Kindle edition for $3.99 or the paperback for $9.95 on Amazon.com.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book from the author.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you so much, Jeanie! What a thoughtful--and thought provoking--review!

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  2. Jeanie,
    I nominated you for The Next Big Thing Blog Hop
    https://mariwells.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/the-next-best-thing-blog-hop/
    Go and check it out.

    ReplyDelete