Friday, 18 March 2011
Review: 8th Grade Bites by Heather Brewer
Title: 8th Grade Bites
Series: Chronicles of Vladimir Tod
Author: Heather Brewer
Publication Date: 06 Jan 2011
Source: UK Book Tours - Thank you Lynsey
Synsopsis: From Publishers Website
Vladimir Tod has a secret. His mother was human, but his father was a vampire...
With no idea of the extent of his prowess and no one to teach him, thirteen-year-old Vlad struggles daily with his blood cravings and enlarged fangs. And when a strange substitute teacher begins to question him a little too closely, Vlad worries that his cover is about to be blown.
But then he realises he has a much bigger problem. He's being hunted by a vampire killer who is closing in . . . fast!
I have been a minion of Heather Brewer's since seeing the books advertised on amazon and goodreads, even before reading them. I am so glad that after reading the 1st book I am even more of a minion, lol.
Written in 3rd person narrative, yet focalized from Vlad's perspective, although I did feel as if the narrator had an audible presence itself similar to that of a voice-over. Vlad is a very complex character, on the one hand you have his human nature and his love for his guardian. While he keeps his half vampire nature secret and his vampire 'urges' firmly under control. Believing he is the only vampire in the world leads to a sense of loneliness that emanates from Vlad. I actually found myself feeling very maternal towards him.
Imagine only 2 people in the whole world that you can talk to; yet even though have no idea what you are going through, no concept of the internal battle you have everyday. Remembering what it was like to be a teenager *shudders* this is an internal struggle most people deal with feeling misunderstood and alone. I can't imagine how having a secret vampire identity would exaggerate these feelings.
The plot is layered with mystery after mystery, kept firmly within the reigns of the third person narrative, all the plot threads wove around one another like a tightly coiled braid, adding dimension to the plot as a whole while keeping the reader guessing as to where exactly the story was going to conclude. Believe me there are a few surprises in store and not all the questions get answered in this one installment. Hence the trip to the library to pick up the next book in the series.
The writing is very descriptive which can be a bit off putting for the gore-aphobic that I am, the picture of Vlad with a cookie dipped in blood actually completed the picture in my imagination of him as a teenage vampire. The vampire side being just a singular part of who he is and what makes him whole. So although I am not a fan of gore, it enhanced the story in this instance. The lack of popularity and the bullying that Vlad receives seemed at odds with his personality though, this may be because he lives in the shadow of his best friend, Henry's, popularity and good looks. He is wary of defending himself against the bullying in case it reveals his vampire nature, so instead he endures it. Vlad appears to have tremendous inner strength and with his guardian ('Aunt' Nelly's) guidance he has a strong sense of decency/moral code (I am struggling to find the right word for what I want to express...blah, I am sure you get the picture) which is reflected in his protective nature towards Nelly and Henry.
The book as a whole works beautifully together. I must say I am totally invested in Vlad's future and cannot wait to find out what the other books have in store. A terrific addition (plus fun) to the Vampire genre.