Never Trust A Vampire, by Vivian Lane, A Strange Allies Novels

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Strange Allies novel #1
The people we save look at us like we’re superheroes, or guardian angels, but we bleed. We break. And sometimes, we even die. When the vampire Adam asks The Agency for Agent Seven’s services to rescue children from L.A.’s reigning vampire, Juliet, Agent Seven can’t refuse, even though she doesn’t trust him. Becoming a paladin means sacrifice of self and saving innocents is top priority. Will Adam prove her wrong, or be her downfall? This story is intended for readers over the age of 18 due to adult situations.

MY BOOK REVIEW:

I approached this story with an open mind. However, I must confess, I’m very particular and fussy about vampire stories.  Check out my other review on this subject, ie. The Historian review. What caught my eye about this novel, was the premise. The cover is an added bonus.

My Thoughts In General:

When introducing many perspectives, the author must be careful not to introduce too many characters too fast. I’ve found this to be one of the major problems with this style of writing.  Not only would the author jump from one point of view to another, they would jump from one conversation topic to the next and then back again switching from spoken words to those in thought. It makes things confusing. Adding a few words such as: said, asked, thought… with dialogue would clarify things better.

Introducing bits and pieces here and there about a character for the reader to collect and assemble, as opposed to describing them thoroughly using narrative at the beginning of their involvement in the story, is risky and may result in losing the reader if done this way. Because there’s six or seven characters introduced within the first chapter of Never Trust A Vampire alone, it is crucial to keep them straight for the reader. Giving them a well-explained personality as soon as the author can, prepares the reader to understand the character’s actions clearly as they happen when they happen.

The next problem I’ve noticed with this style of writing is the over use of dialogue as the entire driving force for plot, limiting narrative used to a paragraph, or avoiding narrative altogether. The show don’t tell rule of writing in this piece was done in excess. Narrative is necessary for creating setting, connecting one plot moment to the next, providing the reader with a moment to “imagine” the place the story is taking place in, or, the situation the characters have found themselves in; or, even to imagine the characters themselves. This is what moves the story along smoothly, with transitions easing into each other magically and purposefully. Aimless plot is destructive to a story-line and defeats the purpose of entertaining the reader because they’ve been lost in plot holes, jerky perspectives and weak character interactions.

Let me explain. Imagine sitting at a lecture listening to a person or persons droning on and on and on about a subject without the use of humor, slides, pictures, demonstrations, or pauses. Next, imagine these same people discussing the same topic, but using a different starting point without an introduction, a short insertion of background information. They just cut in and start talking. They move from one conversation to the next without pause. One voice to the next without introduction or earlier explanation as to whom they are. Eventually, you know there’s a lot of people, but you aren’t clear who is who or what they’re doing, or what their purpose is, how they’re planning to execute their plans, when they’re going to because they’re not answering these questions. Eventually, you end up with a pile of voices discussing something that’s seems without place, purpose, or plot.

Another way to explain this. Let’s take the same group of people and put them all behind a large screen and have them all start their sentences with “I” but not provide any descriptive narrative to explain the situation they’ve found themselves in or who they actually are. The answer to ‘who are they’ can only be ‘I’. But what of ‘what’ they’re doing or ‘where’ they’re going to do it, ‘how’ they plan to do it, and ‘why’ would they do it.

At the end of the conversation, would you have a complete understanding of the entire story they’ve tried to tell you? With that big screen in the way and no use of descriptive narrative to describe character, setting and theme, you are left with a hollow conversation surrounding ‘I.’ The story falls flat.

Hence the need for narrative. Should your story possess mostly narrative? Of course not, the same principle would apply with the missing elements lacking because of the omission of dialogue. However, there are exceptions to the narrative rule, mostly in memoirs, some non fictions, and very cleverly written 1st person narratives with only a few perspectives.

Who, what, where, how, why, and when… A well-balanced story should answer all these questions within each chapter, paragraph and story.

THIS NOVEL’S STRENGTHS:

With that long-winded explanation said, this particular story left me feeling perplexed. The premise is a clever concept that I wanted to like.  When I got further into the story, I found the author’s voice strengthen and carried forward with smoother transitions.  More thought to vocalization and back were clarified better and characters were becoming clearer.

I continued with the story and found the read enjoyable and entertaining. The plot developed better with a few sub plot twists included. The ease of reading improved once I got used to the style of writing.  I wish more setting development and better character description were included. However, this author has a lot of potential that will improve as she continues to write.

The story ends with the possibility of a sequel. I think this kind of novel of 166 pages will be a quick read for young adults.

I give this book:

3-stars

 

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