Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Vampire Kisses 2: Blood Relatives by Ellen Schreiber and Rem

Raven is a goth girl who has always wanted to be a vampire. When Alexander Sterling moved to town, she grew attached to him and fell in love, which was when he revealed he was actually a vampire. Raven and Alexander have had some problems from the family of his old fianceƩ, who he never loved and threw over in favor of Raven, but now trouble is brewing from Alexander's side of the family, which means his wild-child cousin, Claude. Claude has a hot head and since he is only a half-vampire, he's obsessed with becoming a full vampire, for which he needs three vials of blood belonging to their grandmother. The vials can turn him, and his gang of half-vampires, into full vampires.

Raven tries to protect the house by putting garlic at all the entrances, but her family quickly finds them and won't let them stay. Raven has to find another way to protect her family, since she can't divulge Alex's secret. That night, she goes to see him, and asks if he knows of any place the vials might have been hidden. He recalls Claude finding a "treasure map" once in his grandmother's jewelry drawer. But she took it away and when they went back later to look, it was gone.

Claude isn't the only one who wanted those vials, his father pleaded with his grandmother on Claude's behalf to give him the vials. But she didn't want to because she feared that Claude would become power hungry and turn into a relative monster if he became a full vampire. Neither Raven nor Alexander know where the map is now, but Raven gets an idea- why not trick Claude by giving him a fake map, one that leads to a place where his grandmother spent a lot of time. If they trick him well enough, they will go away, leaving them alone.

Alexander thinks that is a great idea, and draws a map to the carriage house on the grounds, which Raven adds some versimilitude to by burning the edges of the map so that it looks really old. Claude is leaning on her at school to find the map and give it to him, and he's being really obnoxious about it, too. But Raven continues playing him along, knowing the longer she waits, the more eager and desperate Claude will become. allowing them to fool him more easily.

But when push comes to shove and she finally has to get the map to Claude, can she and Alexander convince Claude that the map and "package" containing the vials are real? Or will Claude discover the truth, putting Raven at even more risk than before?

I enjoyed this Vampire Kisses books, and we have sort of seen this situation before, with Alexander's ex-fianceƩ, who was herself a half-vampire. According to the book, though, half-vampires can be turned by their partners, but they are apparently then expected to marry them. I would have liked to have seen the reason why Claude needs these special vials to turn, If he needs vampire blood to turn into a true Vampire, why couldn't his father or mother, or some other relative, turn him? Is it considered incest if it's done that way? It's never said, and we don't know- and we don't know what's so special about the blood in the vials. except that it's vampire blood.

On he whole, this story doesn't seem to make very much sense to me. and it isn't very well explained, but the art and character designs are more than cute, and it has the same sort of snarky humor as the books. Some of my favorite moments are when Raven is fantasizing about being a vampire, with no reflection to put on her makeup, and a later scene when we see one of Claude's groupies trying to comb her hair, also without a reflection, and how she has to get out of it by dropping to the floor and pretending to look for a contact lens to get away.

This is an amusing book with lighthearted art and cute character designs. It's very manga-y, even though it's Amerimanga, with weird expression on the character's faces when startled or angry, and its pretty amusing, too. If you enjoyed the books, you'll find more to love here. Recommended.

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