Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Most Apt Title Ever ~ A review of "Murphy's Law of Vampires" by Declan Finn

Before this last year I hadn't read too many modern authors. The reasons for that is fairly obvious to anyone familiar with the modern climate for fiction. Pointlessness, perversity, and prevailing sickness, reigns supreme . . . and are all thought of as cardinal virtues that heroes should revel in. This climate is why I began looking into older authors and books and finding what I was looking for.

What has surprised me is the amount of authors I've seen recently that have gone against the grain.

Take Declan Finn, for instance. He's an author as fearless with his stories as he is with genres. He writes comedy thrillers, speculative swatting, and horror romance tales, all with the same energy and spirit as one would take a torch to a vampire. And there isn't a lick of subversion to be found in any of them.

I already reviewed the first book in his Dragon nominated Love at First Bite series, Honor At Stake, so how does the second installment live up to the original?

Murphy's Law of Vampires starts the second after Honor At Stake ends, dealing with the aftermath of the previous book. This sets the narrative in place, avoiding that annoying trope of trilogies where the second book is superfluous and is merely treading water to the final book. It makes sure you're caught up right away. Mr. Finn does not beat around the bush.

The main characters, Marco and Amanda, are a strange pair. One is a vampire, and the other is a monster. This dichotomy makes them as different as they are the same. It makes their interactions and burgeoning romance far more interesting to watch than when things blow up. And that's saying a lot coming from me.

Coming off of the first book, Amanda and Marco are still struggling. They have inner demons that push at their passions and feelings. This would be utterly dull in a modern novel, but not here. Their battles against their vices, the interior war, is just as compelling as the outer skirmish.

And that skirmish? Well, let's just say the title is what it is for a reason.

One of this series' strongest attributes is its ability to add enough development and introspection to the main characters without dragging the story of navel gazing. Not only are the characters always active, but the pace never really settles down. Gears are always turning, even in the low key moments. Both Amanda and Marco learn a lot about themselves and their relationship through this story, leading to an ending that had me frustrated-- in a good way.

Stories with no genre boundaries are fascinating to me in proving the universality of certain truths, particularly in love and heroism. The Love at First Bite series effortlessly combines romance, horror, thriller, fantasy, comedy, and science fiction, in a way that feels organic and exciting. They are all one and the same, just as they were always meant to be.

But most importantly: it's fun. If you are looking for something a bit different than stale vampire fiction and perverted romance stories where there's more sex than plot then you should really check out the Love at First Bite series. There is nothing like it out there.

Now the wait for book 3 begins.

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