Title: The Reformed Vampire Support Group
Author: Catherine Jinks
Summary: Instead of the dark, sexy, and powerful image of vampires present in protagonist Nina Harrison's Zadia Bloodstone novels, vampirism is a disease. Affecting dead people, this disease causes light sensitivity, brittle skin, and digestive problems. Nina is forever 15 and stuck living with her mother, and participating in the Reformed Vampire Support Group (to help vampires adjust and to promote an alternate diet), when a member is staked and shot with a mysterious silver bullet. So in an effort to prove vampires aren't weak, Nina embarks to solve the mystery with fellow Support Group members, former-punk-rocker-turned-vamp Dave, and a human, sympathiser Father Ramone. In the process they also encounter the underground werewolf trade, giving her her first trial at resisting the scent of human blood and fanging hamsters to deal with the alternate nutrition.
Thoughts: I really enjoyed the alternate to the forever young, sparkly love tales that dominate vampire fiction. These tales are also inject the all superhuman vamp into the story in the form of Nina's Zadia Bloodstone novels. The disease-like form of vampirism was also let us see the characters as real people rather than super-beings with no repercussions. Nina is a witty realist and made the book incredibly funny. Calm, regular Dave was also a good balance to the unusual mix of the group. The suspense and action was well balanced and the novel in general was well paced. The dynamics between the group member were excellent. The dialogue between the lot is hilarious. I enjoyed Nina's realisation that vampires don't need to be Zadia to get what they want from life, and that along with the ending was immensely satisfying. Readers who want to be subverted from the usual vampires will enjoy this dark, witty, mystery.
Cover: I like the cover, its cute but I wish all the members of the support group were shown rather than the skeletal group. The alternate cover is black and white but also quite nice.
Rating: 5 Stars
PS: Hope everyone is having a lovely summer.