by Terrance V. Mc Arthur
This week we have some vampire reading suggestions for your Spring reading–In Blood We Trust by Christine Cody & In Memories We Fear by Barb Hendee.
In Blood We Trust by Christine Cody
There were monsters in the post-apocalyptic Bloodlands. Now they are in the hubs, the cities…and they are in charge.
In Christine Cody’s In Blood We Trust, monsters come in two groups: the Civils and the Reds. The Civils are everyday creatures like a cyclops, a giraffe-neck, and the serpent-man, who just want to get along like anybody else. The Reds get their bone-dry world’s water from human blood; the vampires and were-creatures (including part-time scorpions and mule deer) are in this group. Another kind of Red is the tik-tik women; voluptuous ladies who can take off their heads and feed on the unborn children inside pregnant women (yeah, that sounds disgusting to me, too). Also in the mix are the Shadows: disease victims who have been eaten away to the point that they can blend into the environment to the point of invisibility.
Mariah is a were, sort-of, but she has traded blood with Subject 562, the mother/father of all the monsters, making her a three-nights-of-the-lunar-cycle creature to be reckoned with and an object of vampire worship.
With the normal humans drugged out or hiding in their homes, or being talked into joining the Reds (giving a whole new meaning to the Red States), the monsters get along just fine, until a Civil is killed by Reds, and Mariah’s bonded vampire, Gabriel, is blamed. The pair escape into the Bloodlands, traveling into their past, while Stamp, a one-legged hunter from the old government, tracks them for justice and revenge like a futuristic Inspector Javert (Les Monsterables, anyone?). There are also vampire-blood-enhanced Witches, a newer government breed that can download to each other, and they are after Mariah and Stamp, while they search for clues to what 562 means.
Some sci-fi/paranormal series survive on humor, romance, or violence. In Blood We Trust and its predecessors traffic in the sheer outrageous invention of its setting and characters. Some of the plot turns don’t turn out to be surprising, because the author has been dropping hints along the trail like Hansel and Gretel dropping breadcrumbs the size of truck tires. There is some sensuality in a near-orgy, and a sex romp in a pool of blood that goes awfully far.
This third book may (or may not) be the end of the Bloodlands series, but the uncertain loyalties and ethics of the characters creates a jagged tension. When do love and friendship end and law takes over?
In Memories We Fear by Barb Hendee
We’ve read about evil vampires, romantic vampires, conniving vampires, adolescent vampires, and a few funny vampires. In Barb Hendee’s In Memories We Fear, part four of the Vampire Memories series, we find messed-up vampires.
Eleisha loves the French-born Philip, who doesn’t remember his pre-bitten life, and can’t seem to understand the importance of romance to a feminine vampire, so he isn’t giving her what she’d like to get. Eleisha is all touchy-feely about being a vampire, and she wants to find other vampires and get them to treat humans with respect and care, to stop killing their dinners, and to settle down in her former-church sanctuary in Portland, Oregon.
Julian was messed up by his vampire-maker, so he isn’t telepathic, but he IS psychopathic, so he has spent several centuries systematically eliminating his competition by cutting off their heads. Julian’s vampire-servant, Jasper, is fond of Mary, a teen-age ghost with magenta hair and nose studs, who really likes him, but there’s no way for them to get together.
Rose is a centuries-old vampire who is afraid of any form of travel that is faster than a horse and buggy, so how are they going to get her from the West Coast to England for their next vampire search, because they need her near their vamp-finder Seamus, a Scottish ghost in a kilt?
Then there’s Wade, a body-building human telepath who locates the undead on the Internet and has this thing about walking around in the daytime and watching vampires sleep. If that isn’t enough, the book’s prime, mixed-up bloodsucker is Maxim, who has been wandering the forests biting bunnies for so long that he doesn’t remember how to speak.
I like the idea that feeding vampires would be flooded with the memories of their victims, and that they can telepathically share memories with other mind-communicators, like friends sitting around with the photo albums and home movies and a bowl of bean dip.
Barb Hendee co-writes the Noble Dead series with her husband, J. C, Hendee, in a small town near Portland (I hope it isn’t Forks; that would be too Twilight Zone for me). The book is grand fun, even though the vamp angst gets a little thick in spots. It makes me want to seek out the earlier books in this series and the couple’s work. There is some 1820s sex, some vampire sensuality, decapitations, some serious biting, and a good time is had by almost all (the decapitees don’t seem too thrilled).