It's so refreshing to see a change-especially a funny one. Australian author Catherine Jinks sure knows how to turn a pop phenomenon on it's head. I almost found myself forgetting that I was reading about vampires because I was missing the sparkliness of it all. Where is the ability to leap tall buildings, stop moving vans, and hypnotize petty humans with sheer glamorous beauty? Gone. All gone.
Instead, vampirism is considered to be a disease. Nina and her groupies immediately fall into a coma during the day, and can't be in a room with even a little sunlight unless they want various parts of their body to bleed from light exposure (this includes artificial light). Unless Nina wants to get violently sick, she has to abstain from all human food and lives on a ration of a guinea pig a day (which makes for a disgusting mess in the bathroom, which she has to clean up). Along with these symptoms comes migraines, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, skin peeling, etc, on a daily basis.
Sounds like fun, right?
I first found Nina and her various friends annoying for their constant whining about their problems, until I realized-as a person with a disability (type 1 diabetes)-I can understand a lot of what they're feeling. It's extremely frustrating, feeling like you could do so much, but being held back by your body. Nina wants so desperately to be a normal kid, or at least a pop culture vampire with various superpowers and endless bravery, that she has written and published a series of books featuring a sexy and powerful vampire named Zadia Bloodstone. Many of her cohorts complain that she's living in a dream world and can't face reality because of this.
When Nina is actually faced with vampire prejudice in the form of a group member's staking (thanks to the media's portrayal of evil, monstrous vampires) she isn't ready to be Zadia Bloodstone. She realizes it takes a lot more than just having superpowers and great agility to be a hero.
Thus begins what feels like a roller coaster ride into this upside-down Underworld, filled with loud truckloads of guinea pigs, the illicit underground werewolf-fighting industry, cape-wearing Dracula wannabes, grandmotherly knitting vampires, and a surprising love story.
I promise, you won't be disappointed. I sure wasn't.