26 March 2012 ~ 0 Comments

A Light To Starve By by Axel Taiari

When this book came to me from the author with a request of review I thought he must be brave. A quick look through my reviews and you’ll notice that while I love short stories, I also hate when they are done badly. Let’s face it, most are done very badly. It’s not enough words to get that deep into the story or the plot and I usually walk away feeling nothing for any of the characters.

Bored one day and in kind of foul mood, I decided to start this “novelette” and hope for the best. Less than hour later, I looked up and realized that I had just read a complete story. A whole one. There was enough information here to have a full story, the author does an amazing job of teaching us about the characters, the place, the situation and the feelings surrounding that with the short amount of writing that he does. It’s truly an excellent job.

My problem with vampire stories that have come out recently is that you have either the cuddle-able cute sparkling vampires or we have the ones that are violent to no end, killing everything in it’s path with no remorse and no storyline to speak of, just blood and teeth and lots of screaming. Seriously? Tell me something instead of just telling me about the dripping blood. This book has neither of these, really – yet, perhaps a little of both.

The author does an amazing job of getting the story set up and quickly getting some traction going. You feel for nearly everyone in the story, even the horrible horrible vampire and you are left wanting more. But not so much that you feel cheated by the story.

Easily one of the best short story/novelettes I’ve read in a very long time.

A dark novelette, set in near-future Paris, where vampires and werewolves are hunted like rabid dogs and put down just as quickly. Their existence is common knowledge, the army and police patrol the streets looking for them, families barricade themselves at night, and even the Catholic Church has its own task force. The majority of the population has been vaccinated, making their blood highly poisonous. What little remains of the vampire society is now reduced to dealing untainted blood like drugs, living in hiding, owning clean human slaves to drink from, and generally living a pathetic life.

Amidst the chaos, a clan-less vampire who has been starving for too long does his best to survive, mugging and stealing goods in order to feed himself. His only real link with humanity is a woman he lost years ago. As he checks up on her one night, he finds her missing, and all hell breaks loose.

Rating: ★★★★★

Book count for 2012: 7

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