Recently I've been embarrassed to tell people I like books about vampires, because the whole sparkly teenage angst thing has ruined them for me. What I like, I want to yell at them, is GOOD BOOKS about vampires (see also "The Vampire Tapestry" by Suzy McKee Charnas. "Nosferatu" by Paul Monette). Vampires are monsters, and what makes them interesting is when they realise their difference and are intrigued by it. Tycho is never referred to as a vampire. The word is never even used. He is undoubtedly a blood-drinking monster, but living in Renaissance Venice he is surrounded by humans who behave far worse than he does. At the start he is not much more than a thirsty animal, and his climb from slave to lord speaks as much of his desire to learn and improve as it does of his usefulness to those around him. He learns to lie, and control his appetites, and to love. And that's all you get of spoilers. I have just inhaled the first and second books and will be twiddling my thumbs until part three comes out.
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