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I usually take part in this meme from Aside from Writing blog, but as this week I’m choosing my own new teaser trailer for Taking Flight, I thought it best to post here! If you’re interested in reading this free missing moment – released for my 500 Facebook Followers piece – you can grab a copy from the Sneak Peeks link at the top of the blog.
So…here’s the trailer…hopefully it will keep you intrigued for Outlanders…
So, for my first and probably only book, I’ll manage to read for this challenge – I’ve been writing more than reading this month to meet my summer deadline for The Rainbow Maker’s Tale – I read Canadian author Ada Adam’s book ReVamped… here’s my review!
A simple mission turned deadly.
Nineteen-year-old vampire Dawn has led a sheltered life within the confines of her father’s presidential headquarters. Upon being sent on a mission to revamp four goofy misfits into guardians of a peaceful little town of Angel Creek, Dawn believes that all her dreams have finally come true. What starts off as a simple task, turns into something unexpected, changing Dawn’s life forever and leading the action-loving, thrill-seeking vampire teen on a path of mystery, danger and intrigue.
When a human girl is kidnapped by a group of rogue vamps, Dawn discovers that there is more going on in Angel Creek than meets the eye. And it all connects to Ethan, the cute newcomer who seems too perfect to be true, Sebastian, the mysterious vampire with a turbulent past, and even Dawn herself. Dawn must not only succeed in revamping the troubled recruits, but must also prevent the vampire race from being overtaken by a malevolent villain who has a strange and obsessive fascination with her. As threat escalates, romance blooms, and ghosts from her past begin to surface, Dawn is sure of only one thing: her life will never be the same.
ReVamped is a re-take of the vampire myth, set in the not too distant future, where vamps are out and about in the world, known to humans and borderline celebrities in some cases. In this way it is like a milder version of True Blood / Sookie Stackhouse. It is fun, quick and easy to read, with lots of action and a couple of nice twists.
I do like it when someone takes a familiar idea and does something different with it (see my reviews of Being Human by Patricia Lynne for vampire monster-turned-softie human brother and Stephen Herfst’s Zed, the zombie with a brain)… and Ada Adams does this with ReVamped, especially well in the first few chapters. Genre inversion / bending – I like it! So… what ReVamped does well is create a realistic world for the media savvy, new popular vamps on the block: shows like American Vamp Idol and Transylvanian Shore – loved those little throw-ins. I also liked the fact that eating garlic allowed vampires to wander around in the daylight – nice touch. There were also a couple of light asides to other popular vampire tales, such as Twilight, which worked nicely.
The concept of ‘Born’ Vs ‘Made’ vampires is interesting and I’m sure has some considerable opportunities for development in the series. The idea with this being that some ‘special’ vampires are born of a female vampire parent, who mates with a vampire she’s made. The logistics of how this is physically possible is not delved into in ReVamped, but then neither is the physical body of the vampire (like the stone bodies of Twilight or the fire, silver and stake dodging vamps of Bonne Temps) and so whether this will come to anything in the future I have no idea.
What I did struggle with in ReVamped – but which I know from reviews on sites like Goodreads was a positive point for many readers – was the vampires as protectors (almost like superheroes) set up. There was virtually no neck biting, darkness or typical vampire-as-blood-thirsty-monster behaviour, which is one of the things I tend to like in vampire books when I read them: I like the conflict between the human and monstrous elements; I enjoy flawed characters. ReVamped does not really have these, with the exception of a couple of ‘baddies’ – speaking of which, I did like the werewolf twist, nicely done 🙂
Dawn, the main character we follow and the band of vamps she works with are all very nice, and very human (to me) but with some extra strength. Most of the time I didn’t find myself thinking of them of vampires from their behaviour. I think the hardest thing for me was that – in my eyes – the main defining characteristic of a vampire is their need to drink blood. In ReVamped – similar to True Blood – they have a synthetic alternative now, that becomes the preference over and above ‘the real deal’: the vampires in the book drink Blood Cola, even Blood Vodka on occasion and eat garlic bread to get out in the sun – but all of this made them more human than vampire to me.
Overall Verdict:ReVamped is a good, fun read. There’s lots of action throughout – sometimes a little too easily and neatly resolving things, but hey-ho – and there’s some nice inversions of the vampire mythology. I think I’d like to have seen more depth and explanation of the vampire characters – as I’ve said, they were more human than vamp for me. I’d be interested to see where the series goes with the next book. (And for anyone interested in romance, a couple of nice boys in the mix, not a full on love triangle though – phew!)
You would need to be living in a cave to have missed the recent Mr Grey mania – ASDA bookshelves across the UK have found themselves picked clean as ladies go out in force to grab the book. But what’s it all about? I’d like to say I knew – but from reading the Kindle sample, I’ve not felt especially inspired to spend my money on the book itself. So instead – I’ve taken what little I know from work colleagues who are reading it: there’s a contract, a dungeon and lots of saucy conditions…and given the Fifty Shades… treatment to some other areas of literature.
The Gryffindor common room was buzzing with the sounds of early evening activity. Several tables were occupied by groups of students: heads down, lips pressed tightly together in concentration; diligently completing their homework. In a dark corner, away from prying eyes, the Weasley twins were testing their latest lunchbox items on unsuspecting first years. A small girl was turning blue as she had a severe reaction to a Cough-it-up Drops. “More cough, less choke needed,” Fred nodded, making notes on a dog-eared scroll. Several members of the quidditch team were playing ‘dodge the bludger’, near the stairs leading up to the dorm rooms. That is, until Katie Bell nearly got hit in the face by it and swiped the bludger away with an over-zealous bat of her textbook, directing it straight into one of the ornate, stained-glass windows.
“Fenestra Reparo,” Hermione muttered as she passed by the still shattering window, absently waving her wand in the direction of the wall. As her charm caught the glass shards, they swirled upwards and flew back into the frame, repairing the window perfectly.
There was a determined expression on Hermione’s face as she marched towards the fireplace and Lavender Brown – taking note of this – swiftly dodged out of her path. An instant later, Hermione was standing before the two boys sitting on the sofa, who up until that moment had been happily chatting about the pros and cons of performance enhancing magic in sports.
“…it’s just unethical, mate.”
“A-hem,” Hermione coughed quietly.
Two faces turned towards her, wondering at her abrupt intrusion into the conversation.
“What’ve you done now?” Harry asked, taking one look at Hermione’s face and then swivelling to look at Ron.
“What…me…?” Ron scrambled, sounding a little confused, but also a tad guilty.
“Yes, you!” Hermione confirmed, fixing him with one of her sternest frowns.
“What has he done?” Harry asked, looking to Hermione for clarification.
“Ron made a wager with me that I wouldn’t be able to cast a particular spell – I did it and now he won’t pay up!”
“Well…it wasn’t a fair spell…” Ron began to protest, before meeting Hermione’s gaze and falling quiet.
“Oh, mate,” Harry laughed, shaking his head. “You bet against Hermione on something magic? Guaranteed fail.”
“That’s not the point.” Hermione insisted. “Ron’s forfeit is to become my slave for a week and now he won’t make the unbreakable vow to do it. I have the contract ready and everything.” She brandished a sheaf of papers in front Ron’s nose to reinforce the point.
“Help me out Harry – she wants me to spend two hours a day working with the house elves to help me appreciate their situation…”
“You agreed to the terms,” Hermione reminded Ron, ignoring his pleading tone.
“She wants to dictate how long I sleep for at night…” he went on.
“It will help you perform better in lessons during the day – you’re always staying up too late, then moping around in class.”
“And I’m only allowed to eat at the times she tells me I can!”
“It’s all for your own good!” Hermione exclaimed, gesturing towards Ron’s stomach with her wand, eliciting a nervous squeak from him, before he realised she wasn’t actually going to do anything to him. “No one wants a chubby Keeper on the team now, do they?”
“What do I get if I stick to the contract?” Ron asked, looking hopeful for the first time since the conversation began.
“You get rewarded,” Hermione said.
“And what happens if he doesn’t stick to the contract?” Harry asked, inquisitive eyes darting between his two friends.
“Then he gets punished.” Hermione confirmed, with a business-like nod of her head.
“Oh, fudge,” muttered Ron, beneath his breath.
Harry nodded. “Don’t ever bet against Hermione on magic – definitely a fail, mate.”