Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Book Review: Here Be Sexist Vampires by Suzanne Wright

Recommended to me by the lovely Melissa over at Ever So Mela.

I'm sorry Melissa, I tried. Vampire books are still not my thing. It was an enjoyable read but not one that I will be revisiting in the future. It's not that they give me the creeps but I guess part of my mind is screaming at me while I'm reading saying "Vampires are dead! That limits their sex appeal!"

Here Be Sexist Vampires is about a young vampire named Sara who has extraordinary gifts. She has been basically enslaved since her "birth" and is given a chance to escape from that life and make a name for herself in the army of the Grand High Master Vampire. But she is a low ranking Sventé vampire and is looked down on by the beautiful Keja vamps and the strong Pagoris. Sara is out to prove herself in this world of sexist (but undeniably sexy) alpha males and show that everybody, no matter the station of their birth, can be a leader with enough determination and spunk.

I'm going to start off with the cover. It bothers me. So much. It looks like someone tried to render a girl and failed miserably. 

It doesn't match the feel of the book and it looks plain to my eyes. I do like that the electric whip was included (which is one of Sara's powers) but it isn't enough to save it in my mind. It looks like it was done too quickly without enough thought put into it.

I'm still struggling with what actually bothered me about this book. Vampire books that don't depict them as creatures of the night with an unhealthy relationship with blood disappoint me. I feel like part of the reason why vampires could be so interesting as main characters is because of their moral struggle with relying on cognizant beings for their survival. The other option I really enjoy is the manipulative, cruel, but engaging vampire like the ones in The Casquette Girls. Vampires are something to be feared for me but that didn't really happen in this book.

This definitely followed the path of the sexy vampire. Sara is beautiful and attractive and from the very first moment she and Jarrod lay eyes on each other, they want to jump each others bones. Which is fine. No insta-love here.

Jarrod is a Pagori vampire and that makes his strong beyond belief and gives him incredible powers. He doesn't think that Sara can handle all of these men and be a commander to them. He challenges her to take control of the group they are supposed to lead together and assumes that she will never be able to actually help them master their abilities. But she does. And he can't handle it. He likes to fight with Sara to annoy her but he also gets a thrill out of it. Jarrod knows he wants her but doesn't realize how bad for a long time.
“Whether she realised it yet or not, this betting stuff and the constant conflict between us was foreplay.”
Alright, so this is a bit of a girl power book, which is awesome. I love reading about strong women who can handle anything that is put in front of them. Sara is handling twice the derision and scorn because she is not only female but also a low ranking vampire that is considered too tame. But she is unique and pretty and perfect and already has a handle on every gift that she has been given.

I wish we had gotten to see her work harder to control her powers. She starts off perfect and the only character growth she exhibits during the entire book was learning to love again. It's a big thing but when you're about to be attacked by an army of vampires, it shouldn't be a priority.

But all of this being said, it's not a bad book. The secondary characters are fun, engaging, and add a little bit of fun to the book. It's not all about sex and fighting. There isn't excessive amounts of blood and gore like some vampire books have where everybody is always attached to the neck of someone else and making horrendous gulping noises. 

Fletcher is the secretary for both Jarrod and Sara and is the best friend that anybody could ask for. He's honest, straightforward, and amazingly sassy. 
"What? Who? Oh you mean that cross between a whippet and a witch. Personally, I don't know how he can shag something that looks like its just escaped from Azkaban."
He was honestly one of my favorite characters in the book, simply because you know that all he does all day is put up with their sexual tension laden arguments and sit at his desk and plot ways to get them together. 

Another supporting character that stole my heart is Evan, who is Jarrod's brother. He is all charm and smiles. I liked that he wasn't after Sara and was honest with himself throughout the book. Evan knows what he wants and nobody is going to distract him from it. He's still a good friend in the long run and adds a bit of tension between the brothers when Jarrod's caveman tendencies crop up.

The sexy scenes were entertaining at first but they got a little bit repetitive. Both Sara and Jarrod are experienced so there is none of that wilting virgin stuff going on here and they have heat between them. But every time they get together, it follows the same pattern. Sara is sexy. Jarrod is possessive. Jarrod has a thing for dirty talk and being the dominant one. It's fun and had some heat but I got bored with it rather quickly. Jarrod only has one trick and he uses it constantly. Jarrod needs to go read a couple of Cosmos because I would think electrocuting your partner's naughty bits would get a bit tiresome after a while. 

Post vampire sex?

Vampire sex scenes have bothered me for a long time because they don't make sense to me. In most books, vampires are dead. They don't have a heartbeat. Their blood is pretty much useless. So how are they able to get *ahem* excited? It doesn't work physiologically to me and maybe they explained it at some point during the book but I didn't catch it. In addition, if they are dead, then why do they have a thing for each other's blood? Wouldn't it be rotten? I keep imagining them drinking sludge out of each other and it isn't good. Rather gross actually. Even though their blood is clean and it seems that they do have a pulse in this book, it still just doesn't work for me.

This book is a romance at heart and the vampire stuff almost seems to be a secondary thing. The author could have picked being wizards or shifters or werewolves and I feel like the plot wouldn't have changed all that much. The powers made things interesting but it somewhat ignored the standard canon for vampires and strayed dangerously close to Twilight

I want my vampires to be evil or at least fighting against being evil. They're dead already. They have nothing to lose. They can do whatever they want, right? Or maybe they should have problems with subsisting off of the blood of living cognizant humans. Even if they are willing and able, I feel like at least one vampire would have issues with it. 

I guess in the end, I was expecting drama, danger, and conflict and while that's present in the book, it wasn't the way I like it. I love reading about personal struggles of right and wrong. This book was mainly romance with a sprinkling of political and military drama. So if you are reading it for that reason, it's a fun book. If you're looking for more than that, this is a bit of a disappointment.

So 2.5 stars from me. I don't like sexy vampire books and this was no exception. I'm trying to get over it but this one just didn't do it for me. 

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