Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Review: The List by Sandra Bard

Reviewed by Fehu
The List (Proud to be A Vampire) by Sandra Bard 
Less Than 3 Press
4.5 Pants Off

Gavin Summers' quiet, academic life is shattered when he is attacked by a mugger and rescued by Dillon, a member of the Night Watch. Soon Gavin finds himself embroiled in anti-vampire propaganda, vampire politics, and the dangers of associating with vampires in a city where vampires are being killed daily, forcing him to make a choice: remain neutral or stand with the vampires.

Delightful vampire story and I lucked out with my first pick! With a new author, I am always a bit apprehensive, but it turned out I didn't need to be. The List had an interesting premise; vampires are not some obscure myths figures, but a part of society. Of course not all people are happy about them. Vampirism as an answer to human disease is not a new take, but the list adds a twist. There is a list and people need to be on this list to be turned, they are only turned when new vampires need to be made and it is all regulated as to who might get turned and what cases they decline.

Vampires work close with the police, but have their own group: the Nightwatch, which accepts donations in blood or money. After Gavin was assaulted and nearly died, he came across a member of the nightwatch, who introduced himself with a number and told him to report to the police station to make his statement. The vampire he met and who actually did help him get home, Dillon, picked Gavin's curiosity.

In the meantime the anti-vampire protests and actions have reached their peak. Hate groups were killing vampires, by chaining them and letting them burn alive. Gavin's advisor is a very vocal member of the anti-vampire movement and it turns out the vampires suspected Gavin to be of the same opinion. What the vampires didn't know and wanted to find out, was how the haters managed to snatch their people, since vampires are usually faster and stronger than humans and of course how did they find them? That's why members of the nightwatch have been assigned to watch out for the leaders of the anti-vampires groups and people close to them and that is how Dillon has been assigned to watch over Gavin.

The meeting with a vampire turns out to be a catalyst for Gavin, since now he sees all the bad things posted about them and his own advisor makes him participate in the rallies against vampires. His own positive experience and the ones of the many people saved by the nightwatch, don't seem to mean munch in the face of so much prejudice. Meanwhile there is the attraction he feels towards Dillon and the drive to find out more about vampires in general, that motivate Gavin to research more. Gavin's questions about the vampires don't go unnoticed and soon he has to pick sides. Especially after Dillon get's kidnapped by the radicals to be burned by the sun.

I liked the characters a lot. Gavin was a bit naive at first, but it was nice to see him grow a pair and actually fight back against his advisor, who exploited him. Dillon was a bit of a mystery, but he grew on me pretty fast and actually turned out to be a very sweet person and not at all as standoffish as he was when he first encountered Gavin. The regulations of who was to be turned intrigued me, since there didn't appear to be rogues, who turned people at their whim. While this was not a very long story, it managed to be quite engaging with interesting characters and fast moving plot.

Should You Read It? If you search for a good vampire story that avoids the typical tropes, than The List is a good pick.

4.5 Pants Off

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