If middle school stunk for Vladimir Tod, high school is a real drain. Besides being a punching bag for bullies, he’s still stalled with dream girl Meredith, and he’s being tailed by a photographer from the school newspaper. Needless to say, practicing his vampire skills hasn’t exactly been a priority for Vlad — until now. A monumental trip to Siberia with Uncle Otis is Vlad’s crash course in Vampire 101. Training alongside the most gifted vampires is exactly what Vlad needs to sharpen those mind-control skills he’s been avoiding. And he’d better get it right, because the battle brewing back home with the slayer who’s been stalking him could be Vlad’s last.
Review: May contain spoilers for book #1
Following almost directly on from 8th Grade Bites, Heather Brewer manages to recap the events of Book one succinctly within the narrative without making it feel repetitive, bringing necessary details to the forefront in order to progress both the plot and the characterisation. It was so nice to see that it isn't only Vlad that progresses.
Vlad is developing his vampire powers from our last meeting. I cannot believe that this book does not gross me out, for I am of the squeamish variety. The image of Vlad with his mug of warm blood or glass of spiced blood and a cookie was instead comforting rather than gross. Weird, yes I know, but I think that it is due to the fact that Vlad is so 'normal'. Although I am still unable to reconcile the image of Vlad being bullied with that of him as a vampire. The two images just do not go together in my head.
Vlad's relationships are few, the pain still fresh from the loss of his parents brought tears to my eyes. although at the back of my mind I am left wondering if they are still alive but in hiding.
The portrayal of the bond between Vlad and Henry was heart-warming easing Vlad's fears that Henry is only with him because of Drudge duties. I liked the cute romantic aspect that was included and how Vlad's confidence grew throughout this book.
The inclusion of the trip to Siberia for what I began to think of as Vampire School gave Vlad (and me as a reader) the opportunity to see the other side of vampire life depicted in these stories. Due to this trip Vlad's powers are not only increased but the bond he has with his Uncle Otis is strengthened.
The introduction of Vampire Hunters provided an interesting development. Chapters focalized from the Hunters perspective gave insight into the Hunter's background. There was no surprise when the identity of the Hunter was revealed as the clues are placed within the narrative to easily be picked up on.
There are some clever plot twists and jaw dropping incident that could well be classified as a cliff-hanger. However, I am slightly incredulous as to one point (no spoilers) and would like further explanation regarding Diablo please.
Full of ironic humour and sarcasm (oh how I love sarcasm) this book provides a refreshing addition to the vampire genre with greater appeal to boys than most vampire books.
I dare you to read this book and not become a minion of 'Auntie' Heathers.