Monday, November 23, 2015

Book Review: The Vampire by Sandrine Genier

Jason Sterling never meant to put his life or anyone else's in danger. The Genier law firm's excellent reputation assures him all is well when he accepts the unusual job offer with the Genier's personal friend and client. The mysterious and alluring Augere becomes Jason's obsession. He doesn't know that the sumptuous home they share on Beacon Hill in Boston is far from the life in France, or the bayous of Louisiana where Augere's existence was forever changed. He had yet to learn the secrets of the decaying house in Savannah and its connection to Augere. Jason rationalizes the occurrences of anything unusual even when events on a trip to Europe suggest a reality quite different from what he knows but has begun to suspect. When a terrifying encounter finally convinces him he has been the victim of a dangerous and bitter betrayal he loses everything in an attempt to save his life. In time he comes to realize that putting his former life back together may not be the easiest or wisest decision. Both harrowing and uplifting occurrences continue to divide and reunite the two as their journey becomes a struggle for understanding, acceptance and friendship on their own term

The cover fits the theme of the novel nicely, with Augere being old and mysterious and it's pretty eye-catching. Admittedly, it's also a bit on the nose with the title, and given the length of time it takes the protagonist to realize what his new boss is, the novel might have been a tad bit stronger if this wasn't immediately revealed from the start. But, in this case the cover works fairly well.

I'll start with a positive on this one-I absolutely love the relationship between Augere and Jason. This is not a typical vampire story, and Augere is not a typical vampire. Instead he is somewhat reclusive, and it's not immediately clear what his desires or motivations are. Figuring those out are what drives Jason, a man who is given the job of a lifetime while also being a fan of exploring the paranormal. I really enjoyed their first interactions together as Augere 'hires' Jason, and it's not clear why for quite some time.

Another strong point in the book is the descriptive language as a great deal of time and care was spent describing each city Jason and Augere travel to. However, this is also somewhat an issue. The Vampire's biggest problem is its length. It clocks in at 636 pages on my reader, whereas most horror novels are completed around the 400 page mark. This would be fine if the story could carry that length. Having read this, I feel that about 100 pages or so could have been edited out of this, particularly in the first half. Like I said, there is a goldmine of descriptive language, as Jason explores different cities as he works for Augere. But there are several occasions where Jason explores an area, suspects that something is not quite right Augere, then returns home. Then he goes out again and does the same thing. This happens quite a few times and some of them could easily be edited out.

Yet despite its feels like more could be added. I think this novel might have benefited by a antagonist, one which could have made Jason and Augere's life difficult. We get hints of bad things happening ahead, and it would be interesting to see that develop in the future installments. I would have liked to see more of that develop here, particularly towards the end, but it looks like that is in store for the sequels.

FINAL Grade 3 out of 5. The mystery of Jason and Augere's relationship is the driving force behind the story. But the absence of an antagonist also means that their is too little tension, which is sorely missed and could have helped with the length of the novel.

The Vampire can be found here.


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Jack Dom said...
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