Early Review: American Vampire by Jennifer Armintrout

Title: American Vampire
Series: n/a
Author: Jennifer Armintrout
Release date: Feb. 22, 2011 by Mira

Quick Take:
Indeed, I enjoyed this book overall. The premise was fun and not the typical vampire tale. It had plenty of tense action-packed moments; it played somewhat like a movie, come to think of it. It's gruesome, chilling, witty,  exciting…and not without a bit of the sweet romance that I so love. ^_^

Book Description (via Goodreads): 
      Buried in the Heartland is a town that no one enters or leaves. Graf McDonald somehow becomes its first visitor in more than five years…and he was only looking for a good party. Unfortunately, Penance, Ohio, is not that place. And after having been isolated for so long, they do not like strangers at all.
      Jessa's the only one to even remotely trust him, and she's desperate for the kind of protection that only a vampire like Graf can provide. Supplies are low, the locals are ornery for a sacrifice and there's a monster more powerful than Graf lurking in the woods. New men are hard to come by in this lonesome town, and this handsome stranger might be Jessa's only hope for salvation.
      Even if she has to die first.
Review:
When it comes to scary stuff, there's nothing quite like the unknown, don't you think? I started reading this book without any knowledge of story particulars (plot, characters, genre themes), and am glad I did. While I wasn't scared into going to bed with the lights on, I was certainly deliciously creeped out with some of the more mysterious aspects of this stand-alone novel from Jennifer Armintrout.

This book seems to fall into a couple of genres. The book is undoubtedly spooky. Especially in the beginning of the story, there was a feeling of desolation and the sense of an insurmountable threat that was chilling. I also felt like the ultimate focus of the book was about how a community will regress--brutally, fanatically, incomprehensibly--when isolated and abandoned. Hence, Horror. But the book eventually fosters a romantic element that takes up much of the plot; additionally, the narration bounces between the hero and heroine. So, Paranormal Romance….or Urban Fantasy with romantic elements.

The hero of this story, Graf the vampire, is a bit of a cad. He can be smarmy, snobby and selfish. But I liked his character! And come to think of it, both the "hero" and "heroine" of this book have some questionable morals; they aren't quite the kind of people you'd look up to. There's certainly some great character growth, but the protagonists are no heroes. It's a testament to the author's writing that you root for and care about them despite (or because of) their shortcomings.

Some other great elements included the whole "appearances deceive" theme (in which the supposed "good guys" were often just as freaky as the obvious baddies); the subtle, dry humor of the narrative; and the tempered approach to the romance. Regarding the latter, I appreciated that it built slowly and without grand overtures; anything more might have felt incongruous with the ruthlessness of characters' overall situation.

If you love urban fantasy (with romantic elements) and want to try something with a little bit of a spookiness factor, this is a good story to crack into.

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

4 comments:

  1. I can go for UF with romantic elements, those are still ok in my book :)

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  2. l LOVED LOVED this book!
    Graf is amazing, l fell in love with him.

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  3. Interesting read. I'm usually one to stay away from the scary stuff. But this one does sound pretty good. :) Glad you enjoyed it!

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  4. i've been seeing this everywhere lately. Thanks for the great review!

    ReplyDelete

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