O’ to Be a Vampire Bride

In the world of Amazon literature, one would assume that works with reviews numbering in the thousands and averages of four and a half stars would be limited to immortal classics like the Bible:

Holy Bible

Or period think-pieces like Go the F**k to Sleep:

Go the F to Sleep

They are not:

Vampire Girl

Terrifying?  Maybe not.  Not until one soaks in the knowledge that a statistical majority of 1,009 people like this book a lot.  In fairness, my wife and I might be among them, though for all the wrong reasons.  So buckle up, buttercup, because here comes the plot synopsis of Vampire Girl, quoted verbatim from Amazon:

My name is Arianna Spero. I was an ordinary girl, living an ordinary life, until my mother lapsed into a coma.  Now, I am her only hope. She made a deal with the devil, and on my 18th birthday he came to collect. But there’s a way to save her. There’s something the princes of hell want more than my mother.

Me.

So I signed my soul away and promised to pick a prince to marry. I would take the blood oath, become one of them, and give them an heir. I would become a princess of hell, and my mother would live.

If ever there was a book that needed a scene where the best friend, gay or otherwise, tried to talk some sense into the protagonist, this is it. Then again, Arianna does have a sassy, transgendered waitress friend (whom she is helping save up for gender reassignment surgery… because we’re a socially aware Vampire Girl, if nothing else).  But as you can deduce, that character seems to have a lot going on in his/her life and really wasn’t available to be the voice of reason this novel so desperately needed.  This acknowledged, we’ve taken the liberty of writing a new one in and plopping them down with the protagonist for coffee.  It goes about as well as you can imagine:

“So, my mom made a deal with Satan to save my life.  You know… when I was a baby.”

“That’s so sweet!”

“I know. But now she’s all, like, experiencing eternal torment in a lake of fire, and I feel really super bad. So… I’m making a deal with Satan to get her out.”

“Wait a minute… This all started because of a pact with Satan and you want to make another pact with Satan?”

“Uh… yeah?”

“…”

“…”

“Have you, maybe, considered that part of your family’s problem is that you keep making pacts with Satan?”

“I don’t get it.”

“…Father of Lies? The Beast? The Great Betrayer? None of this is ringing a bell?”

“Are we talking about the same Satan?  He seems super nice.”

“There’s only… OK. You know what? Let’s forget about Satan for a moment. So what’s this pact you signed on for?”

“Right, so I have to marry a vampire Prince of Hell and sire an heir.”

“…Vampire prince… Wait…”

“It’s cool. I get to pick, and they’re all really hot.”

“All? How many vampire princes of hell are there?”

“Seven.”

“Seven?”

“Yeah. Seven. They’re all manifestations of, like, the seven bad things.”

“Seven deadly sins?”

“Yeah. Glutton. Lust. Avarice. Pride. Sorrow. Pride. Sloth. War.”

“…Wrath.”

“What?”

“Wrath. The sin is wrath. You can be wrathful. You can’t really be warful.”

“But he’s War. See? Says so right here.” Time and space warps around Arianna as she pulls out a copy of Vampire Bride and points out that the Vampire Hell Prince is, indeed, the manifestation of War.

“…Huh. That’s… That’s something… Anyway, look, if you’re committed to this marrying a hell prince thing, why don’t you hook up with whoever is the embodiment of Lust, get as freaky weird as you can while still being a young adult novel, and be done in an afternoon?”

“Dean.”

“What?”

“Dean. His name is Dean. The manifestation of Lust.”

“…You’re !@#$in’ me.”

“No. See?” Again, time warps as she pulls out of the book. The name “Dean, Vampire Prince of Lust” appears repeatedly. “Besides, I have to spend a month with each.”

The best friend, whose sexual orientation is entirely moot, takes a deep breath. “Alright.  I’m going to summarize what I got. Because your mom made a pact with Satan, which ended–predictably–with her in a state of eternal torment, you’re going to make another pact with Satan, which involves shacking up with seven sin-inspired vampire hell princes for a month a piece. Then, you pick one to marry.”

“Right.”

“And then earn your mother’s eternal salvation by porking said Prince of Hell and having his kid.”

“Yep! And they’ll be the next King of Hell!”

“…Who’s the current King of Hell?”

“Satan.”

“…Isn’t he immortal? How can there be a next King of Hell?”

“He’s dead.”

“…Look, I want you to know that, as your best friend of ambiguous sexual orientation, I will support you no matter what you do.”

“Thanks!”

“But I’m still not coming to your wedding.”

“Awwwww! Well, that’s cool because vampire security is probably gonna be tight anyway, what with all the murderous fairies prowling around trying to kidnap me.”

“Fairies?  Like…Tinkerbell?  How would that even work?”

“More like Tinkerbell on ‘roids.  I totally don’t know what their problem is. The hell fairy slave trade is, like, so superior to the raping and pillaging alternative.”

“How did we get on the hell fairy slave trade?”

“I dunno.  Probably because I was about to tell you I’m also the Queen of the Fairies.”

“…This seems like information that should have been front loaded…”

“It comes out at the end of book one.”  Arianna grins and does her best jazz hands, “Spoiler alert!”

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Bite Me

Much like the Harry Potter franchise can be blamed for the swell of literature extorting the glory of teenage wizardry, the Twilight franchise is the reason a trip to my local bookseller involves copious amounts of lusty vampire jacket art.  Apparently, at least in the literary world, being dead is the new being alive.  Furthermore, in addition to being surprisingly sexy, it pays far better than one might think.  But while I will admit to having a working knowledge of the rules of Quidditch, I haven’t been able to bring myself to drink the collective Kool-Aid that is the present vampiric infatuation.  As you might imagine, there are reasons for this.

Am I the only one who doesn’t find this attractive at all?

First among equals is that, for whatever reason, the prospect of fantasizing about human lampreys hell bent on sucking my life force and, in the process of doing so, passing on some sort of blood borne pathogen that afflicts me with a similar inclination does not excite me as much as it does the average teenage girl.  Go figure.  My guess is that similar sentiments are possessed, even if not always expressed, by every other male on the planet with occasional cause to leave their parents’ basement.

Of course, this admission opens me up to a charge of preemptive damnation in regards to the Twilight series – particularly when I add to the fire that I’ve neither read, nor have plans to read, the books in question.  However, I do have what I feel is a fairly solid counter argument for that.  Enter my wife, editor and English literature major, who subjected herself to the series for reasons I will never fully understand.  Needless to say, the most convincing book review I have ever heard in my life came in the form of three sentences, uttered by the spouse in question, moments before sleep overtook her.  They were as follows:

“I’m finally enjoying Twilight.”

Pause.

“It’s only grown interesting in the last fifty pages or so.”

Pause.

“And that’s only because someone is trying to eat the protagonist.”

GET IN MY BELLY!

Were one to condense the above into some sort of numeric score, I’m not quite sure where it would fall.  But either way, if the only incentive to read the book comes from the possibility of the protagonist’s untimely demise, I’ll stick to Greek tragedies and Russian lit.

Of course, I hardly needed a reason not to read the series when my mind had been made up about it for some time.  Call me a hopeless romantic, but I hold somewhat conservative views when it comes to vampires – specifically, that their activities should be limited to instilling fear, biting necks, and having stakes rammed through their hearts when they’ve done too much of the first two.  Based on the book jacket and various previews for the movie, I have concluded that Twilight contains precious little of the aforementioned.  So unless someone is going to reassure me that Wesley Snipes does indeed show up and enact utter pandemonium, I’m going to politely decline any variation of the experience.

He wears trench coats in summer, sunglasses inside, and fights with a katana. How can this movie not be awesome?

While I’m bemoaning the lack of a certain Mr. Snipes (something I never thought I’d do…particularly after Blade 3), allow me to indulge a last petty gripe in regards to the Twilight setting – high school?  Really?  Admittedly, the presence of the undead could have only improved my own educational experience, but let us pause for a moment to inquire what the undead are doing in a high school setting at all.  Is a GED insufficient for a career in professional neck gnawing?  Did Congress pass the No Child of the Night Left Behind Act before their most recent recess?  In short, if I had every reason to believe I was going to live for an eternity, a high school education would not make the list of things to do before I…don’t die.  Eating the football team might, but perhaps my priorities are a little askew.

On the topic of askew priorities, the mass murder of the football team wouldn’t put me too far afield of the female protagonist of Twilight who concludes, after the eternity of a one-week high school courtship, that her vampiric co-protagonist is the one whom she is destined to be with forever.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, because lest we forget…high school matters…to someone…somewhere…maybe.  Furthermore, important life decisions are made there everyday – mostly to the effect of whether the chemical in question can be safely smoked or not, but I suppose that is beside the point.

So…this is technically necrophilia, isn’t it?

One can only hope that the present vampire obsession is already in its twilight, pun premeditated.  Of course, this means something else will take its place, and at present, my guess is that something involves zombies.  I’m cautiously optimistic that it is impossible to draw a sexy zombie, which means it might not be safe to walk the fantasy section of Barnes & Noble in the near future without running the risk of blindness.  Of course, I’m probably wrong, and I should probably be writing a book involving a sexy zombie rather than ruminating on whether it would be popular.

So on that note, I’m off to work on The Love Zombie.  Watch for it this fall.

Time could never rot her heart…