Vittorio the Vampire

Well, what can I really say. It’s an Anne Rice book. That should probably tell you all you need to know. As this was the only one of her vampire books (with the exception of the upcoming Prince Lestat) I can confirm that your expectations will probably prove to be correct.

It’s heavily religious. The main character claims that he’ll speak naturally instead of like some… I don’t know, let’s call it a fancy-ass guilded flower. And of course, he lies. It’s not that big a deal that he tends to be long-winded though, as this isn’t a particularly long book by anyone’s standards. But I’m a little confused about the part where the plot just breaks off and starts again as though nothing happened in between scene A and scene B… it makes no sense, unless maybe someone can explain it to me. And the scene where he (finally!) gets made a vampire is unusually anti-climactic. It disappointed me, and it’s odd for a book like this. And the romance part…. Anne Rice is no stranger to romance, but usually it’s dark and gothic. This is somehow oddly sappy and just plain strange. It seems somehow quite out of character for Vittorio. Ursula’s spell over this guy must be pretty powerful, because he just doesn’t seem the type, at least in the face of all that he experiences here. But Vittorio is a good guy, I don’t want to say I dislike him as a character. He’s not particularly annoying, as can sometimes happen. And his personality fits well with the period in which this all takes place. No, there’s not a whole lot to complain about here, besides maybe that it doesn’t really break any new boundaries despite being the only vampire book truly cut-off from all the characters and events we’re otherwise familiar with.

If you’re into this sort of thing, definitely give it a go. If you’re not, then don’t. That’s about all I have to say about it.

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Haunted: The Incredible True Story of a Canadian Family’s Experience Living in a Haunted House

Warning: contains spoilers

Ah, sweet ghost story mind candy. Something I can never resist. The first thing I need to get out of the way right now though, which unfortunately is a spoiler, is that it’s NOT SCARY. I don’t mean this to say that it was supposed to be scary but the whole thing was just too wimpy. Despite this being a first-hand account rather than a story written by an established horror author, this is relatively well written. No, the thing about this is that none of the ghosts are “bad guys.” They don’t want to scare the pants off anyone, they just want to be buds. They rather liked this nice young family who came into their house, and none of this story involved the typical “GET OUT!” kind of stuff we may come to expect. That’s why I find the ooky spooky font used in the title and chapter titles to  be kind of hilarious. You can just picture someone reading this story at a campfire going “and then the ghost… gave them some flowers! OOOOooooo!!” Haha! Well, I guess that would make this a great ghost book for those of you easily find yourselves going to sleep with the lights on. It’s fun, easy, short, and not that big a burden on your anxiety levels. My only real criticism here is that the author, likely out of a need for some sense of privacy, only gives as many details about her family as are absolutely necessary. We aren’t told anyone’s ages, and are left having to guess how old the kids are by the descriptions of events, like really terrible detectives trying to solve a really boring mystery. We also don’t know what any of the family members looks like, and this creates an unfortunate sense of distance between us and the story. Dare I suggest it may have been easier, if they wanted to keep their privacy, to just… make something up? Come on, draw us in! Well, as I did mention in the beginning, this is not a story written by an established horror author. For all her inexperience, the author of this book does come across as very real, if not likeable. And that certainly counts for something.  Not a bad little break from all these serious history books at all.

Other recommended reads: The Amityville Horror, Canadian Ghost Stories