CW: terminal illness of a parent/death of a parent, blood/body gore
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Published: August 24, 2021 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Rating: 4/5 stars
Victoria and her father have always loved vampires, and they long for the day when they can find one together. However, her father has terminal cancer, and Victoria knows that if she wants her father to meet a vampire, she needs to find one herself who can make her a vampire so that she can save her dad. With her best friend, Victoria travels to New Orleans where she meets a mysterious man named Nicholas, who vows to deliver on Victoria's wish. However, Victoria must complete a series of tasks before Nicholas is willing to make her live forever, and these tasks will test what Victoria thought she knew about her and her father's greatest interest.
I love vampire tropes. Whether it's a cheesy supernatural romance, a dramatic tv show, or an old novel, I absolutely cannot get enough of vampire mythology. So, this premise caught my eye. I thought that the idea of combining vampire mythology with the real-life conflict of illness and losing a parent could be fascinating. This book did not disappoint, and it delivered on some interesting themes and characterization.
First off, I was hoping that this novel would give me some references to vampire moments in pop culture that I love, and it definitely did so. I wanted to hear Victoria and her father's opinions on Buffy, Twilight, Anne Rice, and of course, Dracula. I thought that Fuston did a great job at integrating these famous tropes while also showing Victoria's own unique perceptions of vampire mythology. There are so many different variations of the vampire out there, so it was great that Fuston singled in on what Victoria and her father believed to be true. It made their interest appear all the more real.
I thought this novel developed Victoria's character well. I was concerned at first that a teenage girl who truly believes in vampires would annoy me, as her character may appear naïve. However, Victoria has so much knowledge in vampires that her interest was very believable. Also, I could understand how her love for her father drove her decisions. Even if it could have gotten her into danger, she was willing to do anything to help her father, and I could respect that.
I didn't really love the character of Nicholas. I thought he wasn't as developed as Victoria, and he was extremely unlikable to the point where I wondered if he was more of a villain, even though he isn't written to be. I think people who write vampire stories could do better to make the vampire characters, particularly male vampire characters, more likable. Often, they come across as patriarchal, which isn't a good look. I need more soft and sweet vampires in the vampire world.
Overall, I did enjoy this! I thought the ending was satisfying and the themes were well executed. It was a good addition to my vampire collection, though I would like to see more variety in terms of writing vampire characters.
Have you read Vampires, Hearts and Other Dead Things? What did you think?
Emily @ Paperback Princess