Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Taste for Red by Lewis Harris

I'm into vampire lore.

Maybe not the sickly-sweet lovey-dovey/shmexy creep-fest that sometimes occurs, but the haunted anti-hero, wrestling with philosophical questions?  I'm totally down.

So it's no surprise that I keep picking up vampire books.  And I usually know what to expect.

A Taste for Red is surprising because it adds another element to the myth: there are creatures between humans and vampires (called Olfactores, known to be able to detect each other and the undead through their olfactories), who prefer eating food that is red (apples, red velvet cake, & twizzlers), but don't subsist on blood and oftentimes fight mano a mano with the local bloodsucker.

Intriguing, right?

It's a pretty neat little book, except that I keep wishing the story was told on a grander scale.  It's a very narrow slice in the character's life (Stephanie/Svetlana), during a crisis (moving to a new house/school).

The ending leaves me wondering if the story will continue, but everything was wrapped up so nicely that even the denouement left me thinking, "Well that's over."  Now what?

I liked this book -- it was fun, original, and very true to what it's like to have to move in middle/high school.  I can relate.  (Without the sleeping under my bed and eating red food parts)

But it didn't reach the depths I was hoping for (which may be my fault -- I'd just read Anne Rice's Angel Time) -- I wanted a deep conflict, strong emotion, and more action, more personality from the characters, and really just more (or deeper?) everything.

I don't expect that from every book, but I hope for it.  Even middle-grade books should have depth, and the quality of the work sometimes depends on it.

This book left me wanting more, but not in a great way.  I feel conflicted, going back and forth between being fascinated by the mythos created in the book, but being frustrated by the lack of character growth.

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