Monday, June 20, 2011

The Vampire Gene: Killing Kiss - BookReview

Article author: Alwyn Ash

A lone vampire, in search of companionship...

Killing Kiss is one of those tales that has you fascinated from start to finish, as it explores both back-story and present adventures of protagonist Gabriele, a vampire several hundred years old. In modern-day Manchester he stalks Carolyn, a student, with the desire to make her his. However, following an encounter with Lilly, his life changes forever and he experiences new feelings never thought possible. Through the novel author Sam Stone explores Gabriele's past. The plot is tight and well-written, the only negative (for me, at least) being the sudden leap from one time point to another within paragraphs without much warning; perhaps each chapter should have focused on a particular period? That aside, "Killing Kiss" was a joy to read and should not be considered a put-off for those who wish to delve into the author's vampire universe!

To say that this is the best form of vampire storytelling I have ever come across is not far from the truth: where some authors over-indulge with myth and gothic romance, Sam manages to balance the story sufficient enough to please. It is also interesting to see that Gabriele even thinks of himself as a serial killer, collecting trophies in the same way that Jack the Ripper would have a keepsake from each killing.

As Gabriele explains in the text, "Like all serial killers I keep my trophies; a small relic of each one, a lock of their shiny black hair stored in a unique gold locket. I have hundreds of them. The last remnants of my love for them are displayed in full view, in glass cases, even though my heart hurts to look at them."

Though short of real danger throughout, the story does at least share with us the protagonist's heartache and suffering: alone, capable of out-living any Human, including... Marguerite and Gabi, two people very dear to him! Let me just say that he is always at odds with the creature within, for there is still a part of him capable of love, torn between vampire and Human nature. The beast wins, most of the time, and that is the burden of being a vampire. It is also sad to see how he continues the quest for companionship, loving often but facing torment and disappointment.

In other stories it is commonplace for a vampire to turn others, thus instant alliances. In "Killing Kiss" this luxury is almost an impossibility. Almost. We feel his frustration as he treads the centuries, alone...

This first chapter of "The Vampire Gene Trilogy" is adult in nature, so not one for fans of "Twilight" then. However, if you are presently reading Rachel Caine's "Morganville Vampires" and wish to take the next step, then Sam Stone is the author for you. Highly recommended! And if you want to know more about the author and her catalogue of work, the lovely Sam Stone can be found on Twitter.

Purchase Killing Kiss from the Starfoyer Enterprise Store:
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Picture: Murky Depths