The Vampire's Promise: Deadly Offer/Evil Returns/Fatal Bargain Paperback – 1 Feb 2011
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About the Author
CAROLINE B. COONEY has written more than 75 novels for young adults. Her books have sold more than fifteen million copies and have been printed in many languages. She lived in Connecticut for many years, but has recently moved to South Carolina. Please visit her online at www.carolinebcooneybooks.com.
Top customer reviews
If your not too fussed by writing styles and aren't expecting an actual vampire the you may as well give it a go otherwise steer clear
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The weakest part of the book are the vampires. The vampire of the floor and the vampire of the shutters are interchangeable and speak in the exact same voice. It's like their Lowe's/Home Depot vampires, or something. She never explains their origin, or how they ended up in shutters and floors.
The book becomes an MGM Musical of: teens (of every stereotype), older teens, boring vampires, an unnamed cop that doesn't matter and a random car thief. It's hysterical with them running all around at the end like they're in an airport or something. Why the vampires don't attack is anyone's guess. I felt like she had another ending in mind, and then suddenly she changed her mind, but never went back to alter anything.
These vampires make Sparklepires from Twilight sound much more interesting.
Normally I review these compilation books separately because they are separate books but it just would have been redundant, even for a series so a 3 books in 1 review is what you're going to get.
The first two, Deadly Offer and Evil Returns are pretty much the same story, just with different names. Both girls are considered plain, boring and invisible. I think under any other circumstances they would have been considered just normal girls but these books are about severe stereotypes. You get one mould and that's what you fit into. So you have the plain Janes that want nothing more than to be pretty and popular and loved and not dull.
They both live in this old Victorian mansion and a vampire lives in between these inside and outside shutters in the tower room of the house (I'll come back to the vampire in a moment). He bleeds into their lives, offers them wishes, or really answers wishes, in return for a life. In order to get you have to give. They wish for popularity and smarts and friends and boyfriends and in return the people that were once popular get tapped by the vampire and, essentially, trade places with the Janes.
In the end the Janes feel guilty, rescind their wishes and feel that it's better to be plain and normal and boring and win people over the old fashion way instead of sucking the life from those that have what you want in order to achieve it. Nice, happy, resolved endings.
Seriously, those two books were the exact same thing. So much so that I thought it was a waste of my time to read the second one but I kept reading thinking that maybe something different would happen, you know? No. The exact same storyline with the exact same characters, just with different names.
The third book, Fatal Bargain, was the redemption. It was completely different than the other two. Whereas the first two had the extreme stereotypes (the jocks, the pretty girls, the plain girls, the popular people), this one had more balance. People weren't shunned but at the same time you were able to get into their heads and see what they were thinking about everyone else around them. They all fit their own moulds but the walls weren't so high that they couldn't climb out of them. The characters actually had depth. They had dimensions and at the end of the story they were something more than paper dolls.
What I didn't get was the insistence that Lacey was an airhead. It was said a fair amount of times but her actions didn't reflect those words. She ended up being the strongest out of the entire group and when I said she didn't fit the mould of the other two, Althea and Devnee, she never made any wishes. That was never the situation in this story.
The other two girls lived in that house with their families but in the last book, the house was abandoned and the kids were partying in it. They had woken up the vampire and he wasn't in a wishing mood. He gave them the option of sacrificing one for him to feed on so the rest could leave. That was it. No pretty looks or popularity to be given. Lacey didn't make any wishes. None of them did.
The writing was very stagnant from one book to the next. I preferred the third on all levels only because of the variety from the last one. It was more multidimensional and fulfilled the horror motif better than the other two.
There were some gaps in the plot, like Althea and living in the house. Her parents never made an appearance. In fact, it kept sounding like she lived in that house by herself. That really bothered me.
In all three books, the vampire had the same descriptions. Considering these were limited points of view, it read to me like all these kids saw this vampire with the same eyes. In every single book, the vampire's skin was the color of mushrooms. Would they really all make that same observation?
And in the last book, the vampire declares that if someone sacrifices themselves for the group, he cannot take them as a victim. It appeared that that applied to one character but when another did the same exact thing, it didn't obviously to serve the plot. Hole much?
And the writing was updated, which irked me. It's as if the new generation wouldn't understand the terms used in the early 90s. It really hit me that it'd been updated was when I caught the mention of the word DVDs. Not in 1991 they weren't. I mean, was that necessary? Is a VHS tape that much of an anomaly to teens today?
And for the vampire, I went both ways with him. First, I honestly don't think this was a standard blood-drinking vampire. His victims, when he was done with them, were all exceptionally tired which led me believe that he was a more psychical vampire that drained energies as opposed to blood. A very different take that I really liked.
There was nothing sexy about him, which is also a nice twist. He's decay and rot and swamp and everything you'd think death would be. His cape is woven of the souls of the people he's killed. He's intangible and tangible all at the same time depending on the strength of his power and he can seep into you if you allow your wishes to be brought to fruition. He's a disease that penetrates the mind and seeps into your soul. Very creepy and very different. I liked it.
What I didn't get, though, was that he occupied the shutters in the tower. I had a hard time picturing that. The idea was that if the shutters were ever opened, it would unleash the vampire so to prevent that, there were shutters both inside and outside the windows. I just didn't get it. In the last book we see just where the vampire resides and by that book it's clear that he is confined to the tower until someone releases him. I don't think it centers around the shutters as much as the first book intoned.
So, the bottom line is that the last book, Fatal Bargain, is the best out of all of them. It has the most depth, it's the creepiest, the least superficial and the most well-rounded. The other two, pick one, read it and move on. The writing, to me anyway, culminates in that final book. The first two were just way too similar and stocked with cardboard characters for my liking.
But all three of them get bonus points for the creep of a vampire. It's not something I see often, a vampire in this form, and it makes me like it even more. He's portrayed as the evil, disgusting piece of rot he actually is and it makes the character that much more spine-chilling.
Usually a master of suspense, Caroline B. Cooney is perhaps most famous for her book, The Face on the Milk Carton, which she wrote back in the mid 90s (and I LOVED). Around that same period, she wrote three separate vampire novels (Deadly Offer, Evil Returns, and Fatal Bargain) that are now available in one volume as The Vampire's Promise. Unfortunately, these vampire novels are anything but thrilling and are a big disappointment.
To be fair, these vampire stories were written before the huge vampire craze hit the country. We're talking pre-Twilight, pre-Vampire Diaries, pre-"True Blood" days. The vampires in this novel are not flashy, or sexy, or fun to read about. They have no romantic relationships with the female characters. Actually, they don't really even have bodies.
No, these vampires are presented as true evil, with no lighter shades of gray that hint at underlying worthy human traits. There is nothing human about these vampires. In fact, there's not even anything vampire-ish about these vampires. They are more like genies that (at least in the first two stories) grant human wishes in return for human flesh. If this sounds confusing, that's because it often is in the story.
In the first tale, Deadly Offer, Althea dreams of being popular. In a fit of curiosity, she opens the shutters of the tower to her family's old mansion (although her family never appears in the story), and somehow this act awakens a vampire. He promises her all the popularity she can dream of if she brings him his victims. Why he doesn't just drink her blood is not exactly clear; it has something to do with not being able to leave the house and needing her to continuously feed him. Of course, Althea does what he asks and finds the popularity she has dreamed about.
In Evil Returns, Althea has moved away from the house and Devnee has moved in. And guess what? Devnee has dreams too, of being beautiful! Her bedroom is in the haunted tower and so of course she meets the vampire. Same plot structure ensues: he promises her beauty and more (yup, she becomes smart too!) in exchange for feeding the vampire (which we never see).
Finally, in Fatal Bargain, the big haunted mansion is empty and about to be demolished for a mall. So a group of six teenagers decide to go there and party, and surprise! They awaken the vampire. He doesn't promise them any wishes, however, he just tells them that they must decide which one of them can live. However, from this point forward, the story includes so many sub-plots and secondary characters (including a second vampire, who is [I think] the one from the previous two stories) that it's just a bit ridiculous.
One of the big problems with all of the stories is that there's no character development. The first two stories would have been far more interesting if I knew why Althea and Devnee were so focused on their wishes. Instead, they just seem rather shallow and uninteresting; so much so, that I started to wish that one of them would secretly turn out to be a sociopath who would become a lifelong partner of the vampire to get whatever she wanted in the world.
Sadly, that was not the case. All the characters manage to overcome the vampire in truly uninspiring endings. Separately, these stories are undeveloped; as a single novel, they seem thrown together last-minute. These aren't stories for people who love vampires, or for people who love suspense, or even for people who love to read. Maybe they're stories for evil vampire-genies; but, having never met one, I guess we'll never know.
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