Certain shifts in the Zeitgeist are missed by us because of our preferences and biases. Somewhere, for some reason, throughout the course of our lives, vampires have gone from European folk legend to media sensations. It appears that Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, with the book being published in 1976 and the enormously successful movie made in 1994, was the turning point. A few years later, Buffy The Vampire Slayer began a successful run on television. And of course, the Twilight series became a worldwide phenomenon in both book and movie forms. Why has the romantic vampire gone mainstream? I am not the best person to ask that question and I feel that attempts to explain it by someone who largely ignored the genre are the equivalent of someone who never saw Star Wars trying to understand why it, and not a hundred other science fiction films, became an all-time classic. There seems to be something special, though, in the Romeo and Juliet-like concept of forbidden love that has become attractive, particularly to teenagers.
Ariana Parker has chosen to write her first book within this crowded field. It would certainly not be my recommendation, but that may be why I write about books rather than write books. The story centres on Ethel Callaghan who awakes to find herself transformed into a vampire. Rather than concede to the transformation that’s occurred, she attempts to fight it and travels to the Alaskan forest where she can feed on the blood of animals rather than hunt humans. Of course, while there she meets a man that she falls in love with but can never have – Brendan Shaw, while also devoting attention to protecting the people she comes to know from a killer.
Using the Aurora Borealis as a plot device seems to represent the simple fact that what makes us human is not flesh and blood or DNA, but our need to be fulfilled by things beyond the physical realm — including the wonder that is felt when seeing the northern lights or the feeling in our stomach as we fall in love.
This is not a book that I would have ordinarily read, but Ariana Parker is a very good writer and anyone who has an attraction to other vampire romance stories will almost certainly find the book enjoyable. As a rule of thumb: if you liked Twilight, then you will like this book. And although the vampire culture has passed me by, I’ll look forward to Ms Parker’s future books. She writes in an enjoyable style and has a natural grasp of how to properly unfold a story.
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