Where do I even start with this one? It was my first conscious reading of a splatterpunk novel. It’s captivating with its character development. It’s a story about a teenage boy who joins a group of vampires. You can make a case that this is a coming-of-age tale too, which I was pleasantly surprised about.
Why would I categorize this as a coming-of-age though? Simply put, even though our protagonist is introduced as a fourteen-year-old-boy and it ends on his sixteenth birthday, over the span of those two years, he goes through so much that I believe it was enough to dictate who he becomes as a man. Without spoiling the specifics, just one of the slew of situations he is put through is enough to break someone into madness or a spiraling depression.
You can make a case that this is extreme horror for the simple fact that the brutal violence throughout the book,goes into heavy details, and they are…shocking, to say the least. I don’t believe Morrison wrote it the way it was specifically to shock anyone though, which is why I initially called this a splatterpunk novel. It’s social commentary on youth, trends, America’s obsession with violence, bullying, and peer pressure. Maybe Morrison didn’t intend any of that, but that’s what I took away from it.
It’s a fairly long story, just under 400 pages, but let me assure you, it’s worth your time. I like vampires, but that’s not what originally drew me to this book. It was Brian Keene’s recommendation on it through his podcast. He’s someone that will only recommend something worth your time, so if it isn’t for my word, take his.
This book took the vampire lore and legend, laughed, then rammed a stake through its heart. It broke rules. Not only some, but all the rules! I can’t un-see the brutal ultraviolence, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Even if you aren’t the biggest fan of vampires, I assure you that Morrison has given the horror community something worth talking about for a long while. He’s made vampires hip. He knows how to write horror, and it’s displayed clear as day (hehe) in these pages. But to top it all off, the ending is absolutely killer.
I give this book an A
Review by Patrick R. McDonough
I received a copy of this book from the author for review consideration.