Book Review: The Dark Heroine: Dinner With A Vampire by Abigail Gibbs

The Dark Heroine: Dinner With A Vampire by Abigail GibbsThere’s plenty of vampire-related literature around at the moment: so much so that readers are spoilt for choice.  If I’m honest, it’s not my favourite genre (I think it deserves to be called a genre in its own right).  I don’t mind the vampires (I have an over-active imagination and am quite prepared to scare myself silly on a dark night wondering if a thirsty, sharp-toothed mythical being is lurking in the shadows).  My problem is with the fact that modern vampires tend to be bratty teenagers: they never seem to be quiet bookish types or suave and sophisticated charmers; they all tend to be a bit gobby, full of self-confidence, and/or very angsty.

However, I found myself drawn to the teenage vampire at the centre of this novel: prince of the vampire kingdom, Kaspar.  He’s so spoilt and arrogant that he becomes a deliciously irritating yet interesting villain at the beginning of the novel, then as we read on and we realise how deeply he buries his true feelings, and the reason he has for hiding them, he becomes much more sympathetic, even endearing.  There’s nothing like a villain with a heart, especially if he turns out not to be the villain at all.  Violet, the other main character, is a human captured by the vampires after being in the wrong place at the wrong time: she is feisty and more than a match for Kaspar, even if I didn’t find her quite as sympathetic for some reason.

Overall I thought the novel had a good story and well-drawn characters.  I’d like to say that it stuck me as having an original plot, but not having read much vampire-related literature (i.e. I’m basically comparing this to Dracula) I can’t really comment.  If you like novels which involve a quest, and you enjoy Twilight and the like, then this is the book for you – in fact I should say the series for you, as Dinner With A Vampire seems likely to be the first of a set.  I feel quite safe in saying that the novel is likely to become a bestseller.  I wasn’t in complete raptures over it – I liked it but I wasn’t in love with it – but you should take into account that even though I’m not really the target audience for this book, it still managed to win me over enough to recommend it to the right reader.

Do you want to know what really impressed me about the book?  The writer, Abigail Gibbs, is just 17.  A book written and published by the age of 17!  She originally wrote the story on writing site Wattpad, a place where writers can share their scribblings with other writers and readers, get feedback and build an audience if they’re good enough.  The Dark Heroine, according to my review copy, received 16 million views and huge support from the site’s readers and writers.  I had in fact already read the first chapter of the novel on Wattpad maybe a year ago and was struck by how good the opening was.  While the writing isn’t the best, and in places leaves room for improvement, I can’t wait to see how she develops her craft in future novels.  There’s a lot of potential here…

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Marie
    Oct 23, 2012 @ 21:38:03

    Like you, I am reserving judgement on vampire fiction as a genre in itself although I have enjoyed some examples and am about to start another vampire book – The Passage by Justin Cronin. This sounds promising and so impressive considering the author’s age!

    Reply

    • TheBrontëSister
      Oct 24, 2012 @ 07:29:16

      I’m more than open to a good vampire story… it’s just about finding one that works for me. I’d probably read Twilight and enjoy it but am just put off by all those teenagers!

      I’ve just remembered another vampire-related book which I’ve tried – Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar. Same old idea of a network of mythical creatures (werewolves as well as vampires here) without the humans having any idea of their existence, except Millar introduces vampire families, a royal bloodline, conflicts and politics and shows you the ‘human’ side to these savage beings. It’s also not just about being a teenager – the central character is a young girl but she’s far removed from your average 19-year-old, plus you are introduced to every generation of her and others’ families. It’s a great book – in fact it’s probably the reason I liked this one as looking back now I can see some parallels.

      Reply

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