As an ardent Hammer Horror movie fan and quite fond of partaking of the Anne Rice & Brian Lumley viewpoints of how vampires (or wamphyri) should be, I found Nael Roberts' take on the genre refreshing.
Whilst I admit that I haven't read Twilight or any of the myriad clones, the whole re-boot of the vampire saga into a teen-friendly sex 'n' blood yawn left me bemused.
I like my vampire stories to be 'old-school', I'm afraid. If they're not skulking around at night chomping on whichever unfortunate girlie happens to be their target, crying 'woe-is-me' about how difficult 'life' is for the long-toothed fraternity (hello Mrs Rice), or indeed if they're not vile loathsome creatures who think of humans as simply walking slabs of meat (hello Mr Lumley), then honestly I'm not that fussed.
So, when LOTV landed on my Kindle app I thought that this might be a touch different, harking back to those halcyon days when vampires really didn't give a stuff about us mere mortals.
The tale revolves around a reporter, Ann-Marie, who by victim of fate is given the gift of being a 'Communicator'. Quite what that entails unfolds throughout the story. Her 'normal' life is interrupted by a pair of vampires - twins nonetheless - which we believe to be from a 'Tribe' of vampires hiding out from human sight for fear of extermination.
As the tale unfolds we see that Mica - the female twin (pronounced 'Meesha' as in Mica Paris) is the goody-two-shoes of the pair, with Christian taking on the more evil role. The novel follows Ann-Marie's struggle to come to terms with her new powers, vampire friends and foes and how her life must now change forever.
LOTV paints an extraordinary amount of detail into both the scenary as well as the characters that are set up for this - the first of three novels so far - and the language contained within is hardly what one would call simplistic. I found myself almost reaching for the dictionary on occasions. These vampires certainly have had time to bone up on some very interesting words indeed!
An example of the kind of descriptions Roberts paints:
The descriptive narrative is exceptional in places. For me, the part where Mica's son looks upon the Sun for the first - and last - time is quite remarkable. The sheer joy of seeing outside of the caves where the vampires are holed-up in and the jubilation turning to agony as his body is torched to cinders is pretty dramatic stuff. You easily sympathise with Mica when she discovers what has happened and feel anger when you know the culprit behind the incident later...
Reading through LOTV, it's obvious that Roberts is a fan of all vampire novels, including Rice and Lumley, but there's a dash of good old Stoker in there for good measure.
In terms of who is on who's side? All I'll say is that the vampires have had a long time to practice being deceitful - take everything that is said with a barrel of salt!
A fine starting point to what seems like a gripping set of Communicator/Vampire Chronicles!