Friday, October 16, 2009

Tale of the Thunderbolt

After blasting through the first three Vampire Earth novels, I'm going to take a little break before going on with them. Part of this is due to other external factors; I have constraints on the book I have right now; I have to read it within three weeks. Part of it is that I honestly need a little break from it.

While the book steps it up a notch in many regards, it also showcases some of the series weaknesses. The secret history of the Kurian world is further revealed, and that's always exciting. Valentine gets to go a bit more exotic with trips to Jamaica and Hispaniola, followed by a trek through Gulf Coast Texas. Woot! My old stomping grounds. The characteristics of the new Texas Rangers were cool. I liked them.

There's another hot girl in the story that he has sex with. This time she's much more of a major character instead of just a throwaway lust object. However, the sex scene was much more graphic. I thought for a moment there the publisher might have accidentally printed a page from a bodice ripper romance. That caught me a bit off-guard, since the previous two had done the "fade to black" oblique references to sex.

The plot feels eerily similar to that of the first two novels in most respects. There's a strong sense of deja vu after a while. It's also disappointing that vampires still play only a background role rather than a starring one... in a series called Vampire Earth, you'd expect that by book 3 you'd have seen more than a few "minutes of screen time" of vampires. Valentine generally has an easy time of it. Knight has him sprouting legends and cults, almost, in his wake wherever he goes, which is just a tad unsettling.

In spite of this, the book does show some maturation. Valentine grows as a character, being confronted with difficult decisions and the consequences of making them. The age old question of "how far is too far when you're at war" is broached. Valentine is presented with temptations to leave it all behind and take the selfish way out. The book ends not just on a cliffhanger, but on a double cliffhanger, with two major unresolved plot strands reversing direction literally in the last few pages.

Nonetheless, duty calls. I can't read the next one yet until I perambulate through some other stuff that demands to be read.

No comments: