Real Vampires Have Curves: A Review (of Sorts)
Real Vampires Have Curves
Berkley Publishing Group, 2007
Paperback, 317 pages
I took enough notes that I could do a regular MSTing of all the absurdities of this book and how it fails to combine urban fantasy and chick lit effectively. But that would get tedious. Instead, let me quote a passage from page 225 of the book.
“I couldn’t do it, Glory.” Lacy prowled the shop like a caged tiger.
“He wouldn’t get in the shower?” I was learning way more about Lacy’s sex life than I wanted to, but I had a nagging feeling my security was at stake. Oops. At stake. Gee, I hate vampire jokes.
“Of course.” Lacy flushed. “He’s got a great body, absolutely nothing to be ashamed of on his part. So we’re in the shower, the water’s just right, but I just couldn’t make myself to read his thoughts. Ryan’s insisted he’s not put off by my flat butt, but what if he hates it?”
A flat butt, what a body issue. I didn’t have to look back to know my own butt was asstronomical.
Context: Glory is a 400 year old vampire who owns a vintage shop* called Vintage Vamp’s Emporium. It is open all night.** Lacy is her daytime manager, a 300+ year old werecat. In this universe, werecats can read minds. So can vampires, but Glory never learned how to in her 400+ years of existence. Ryan is Lacy’s new paramour, a human she’s not known for more than a month (likely less). Glory and her other vampire friends were nearly killed a couple of times by some vampire hunter. They’ve already buried a couple of other vampire acquaintances/friends earlier in the novel. There is fear that someone’s a traitor in the midst. Ryan has already shown himself to be squirrelly, which is why Glory asked Lacy to read Ryan’s mind in the first place.
Task: Since it is apparently very difficult to read a mind when the person is wearing glasses,*** Glory asked Lacy to read his mind while they do a sexytime shower together, since presumably one does not shower with glasses.
Other Background: Glory has Bridget Jones-esque body issues. She also speaks in some strange parody Sex and the City patois, with repeated references to “roomies” and “hotties” and “cute shoes” and a propensity to call everyone “girlfriend.” Also, this is page 225 of a 317 page trade paperback.
If you want to write a chick-lit vampire novel about cute shoes and hating eternally thunder thighs, then don’t tack on a plot about how everyone’s in mortal danger. In fact, there was a perfect seed for plot that would fit a frothy chick-lit novel: setting up the Vintage Vamp’s Emporium.**** There is some goofy comedy to be mined from a 400 year old vampire trying to open her own business, making use of her centuries of connections and many lifetimes of being a fashionista. You can focus on the two love interests***** possibly getting in the way. You can emphasize the wacky hijinks with Flo, Glory’s lusty life loving roommate (and the sister of one of her love interests). You can mine the black comedy that comes from Glory’s friend vampire Freddy and his mother CiCi, who opted to be turned into a vampire when her son was turned. And you can play up the adventures that such creatures would have in a city as full of nightlife and character as Austin, TX******
I’m may prefer my vampire stories darker, but there definitely is room to create a pink confection of a vampire novel, essentially “Bridget Jones becomes a vampire and moves to Texas.” But pink confections do not work with the dark intrigue of plot devices vampire hunters. Maybe there is a way to combine the two. However, Gerry Bartlett does not manage to do it.
* Apparently the only one in Austin, TX.
** And yet Glory and the other vampires are stunned that the plot device vampire hunter that’s been chasing them throughout the book was able to figure out that she’s a vampire.
*** Also, wearing glasses and typing on a laptop in a coffee shop in Austin is enough to make you a computer geek as per Glory.
**** This world is masqued (i.e., vampires are ostensibly a secret), but think of the potential of the world was unmasqued. With vampires out of the coffin, you could focus on an entrepreneurial vampire who giving shopping options to the undead who can’t make the limited mall night hours (and other human night owls).
***** Jeremy Blade and Damian Sabatini. They’re personalities can be boiled down to “I must protect you, lass (by the way you’re hot)” and “I want to sex you up, cara (by the way you’re hot).
****** Aside from mentioning a couple of Austin streets, there is nothing about this book that makes its Austin setting different from any other generic city. If you’re going to set your story in an actual place, don’t squander it.