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Customer Review

6 May 2013
Before I go any further with this review, let me make one thing clear - the author really isn't joking with his content warning. The book contains lots of quite graphic sex, mainly but not exclusively of the lesbian variety. There's also a good deal of gore. You probably know yourself well enough to know whether you find that to be a positive, neutral or negative thing, and if you've got the slightest doubt about whether you're comfortable with graphic all-female sex, do yourself a favour and stay away - don't read now and give a negative review later.

For the first few chapters of this book, the sex was particularly in evidence, more or less to the exclusion of any other kind of plot. I got the impression that this was going to be basically erotica - not a genre I remotely have a problem with, but not something I particularly make an effort to read full-length novels in either. Luckily, after a couple of chapters, although the sex continues to make regular appearances, it's joined by a combination of a surprisingly sweet love story, a gangster/private investigator storyline and a well developed vampire history. If you read the first few chapters and aren't sure whether this is for you, I'd encourage you to push on and you may well change your mind. I do however feel the book would have been a bit better if there was a more balanced plot:erotica ratio from the word go.

In many ways, this book is predominantly a character study. It's told in the first person, from the point of view of a 500 year old vampire (currently) called Suzie. She has a taste for designer stilletos, dramatic outfits and Illamasqua make-up, as well as strong sugary coffee, classical music and expensive wine (all of which, apart from the sugary coffee, I can wholeheartedly support). She works partly as a very accomplished pole dancer and partly as a private investigator, drinks human blood, has killed huge numbers of people, and seduces anyone who takes her fancy.

Personally, I love both her ruthless streak and her glamorous side, but I can imagine some people finding the character shallow and hard to like and I suspect that whether you love or hate the book will depend in large part on how you feel about Suzie. There were the odd scenes (some sex of dubious consensuality, two seemingly innocent men who were killed slowly) that made me a bit uncomfortable and made it harder to root for her, but give me that over a weak, "might as well be human" type vampire any day. And equally, there were some great scenes of her getting vengeance on some really quite horrible humans and at the other extreme, showing some touching vulnerability.

The vampiric and historical aspects were very well done. Suzie trod an interesting line between normal woman and mythical creature, with the supernatural elements tending to be downplayed. There were some great flashbacks to her early life and creation in sixteenth century Britain and Italy, and some wonderful scenes of her sometimes scandalous and sometimes depressing life in later centuries. Relatively obscure historical characters were tied neatly into the narrative.

Finally, the book had a surprisingly feminist slant. Suzie talks at length about how awful life was for most women for most of history, and her sex and shopping lifestyle takes on a new significance when viewed from the perspective of someone who can barely believe they are allowed to exist independently of a man. There's a running theme (hence the title) of many humans being worse than the vampire heroine, in many cases because of their crimes against women.

All in all then, this probably isn't a book for everyone, but if you like vampires and can cope with erotica (or like erotica and can cope with vampires) I'd definitely give this a go. If you like both genres and can get behind the main character, you just might love it.
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Product Details

4.4 out of 5 stars