Gothique was a read I couldn't wait to pick up and each time I had to put it down I did so with reluctance. It is a multistranded, many charactered, modern day horror in the best sense. There are none of your effette, langorous vamps here, these are nasty, mean and very intelligent. Not only can they bench press cars and kill you without blinking an eye, these are vamps that command a great intellect and there are times in this novel where the surival of characters we care about is in serious doubt. indeed, Marffin keeps us gessing by killing off some of the best characters, some to become vamps and some permanently.
Like the previous reviewer I've also read Marffin's first novel Carmilla, the Return. Boy does it show this is a second novel- marffin has command of his own voice and avoids the ocassionally overblown and cliche ridden teritory of his first vampire novel with this.
The story centers around the opening of a nightclub/entertainment venue in Chicago. Club Gothique is ambitious and much anticipated. the anticipation is helped no end by the subtle infiltration of vampire minions into the press, ensuring its message of welcome to young, nubile goth and alternative crowd morsels is received loud and clear. They are gagging to get in. And get in they will. They just may not get out.
the novel opens with a human woman who has been investigating the sudden 'Gothique' hysteria being flung from the top of one of Chicago's skyscrapers by one of the vampire minions. As she is captured and knows full well what fate awaits her, she has time to wonder if the desperate clues she has left will save any lives. Will anyone be clever enough to unpick the strands like she has and reclaim Chicago before it is too late? And so begins a great big tapestry of nuggets of the puzzle, each held by different characters who have intersected her life as they gradually begin to piece together what is going on. Initially alone but eventually a small band of those confronted with too many experiences they can't right off as overactive imagination band together to attempt to bring down Gothique.
My only minor criticism of this novel would be that although there are some brillaint suspense filled scenes, these were fewer than necessary to make this an unforgettable vampire masterpiece. Those that are there though are real spine tingling stuff- late night stalking through an office block; an old man and his dog terrorised as they go out for walks; a girl hearing her long dead flatmate return home- through the window 10 stories up; those who attempt to get back into gothique to rescue the missing. Brilliant, highly charged stuff. Just a shame these were scattered a little too thinly through the novel. However, it is a well written, intelligent contribution to the vampire genre and Marffin's knowledge of Goth culture is finely observed. I for one, hope marffin returns to vamp teritory soon.
on 17 March 2001
Having read Carmilla the Return I approached Gothique with an aticpation bordering on a vampire's blood lust.... I was not disapointed.
Marffin has produced an increadibly satisfying blend of a contemporary vampire tale and the gothic sub-culture, weaving them together with the skill of a master storyteller.
In short this was a book I just could not put down, and I urge any fan of horror fiction in general, vampire fiction specifically and anyone interested in gothic sub-culture to buy this book.
A book I just could not put down.