Thursday, March 4, 2010

Staked and Revamped by J. F. Lewis

I've decided to do my review for Staked and Revamped together. They felt like one big book instead of two. There are spoilers in this review...

Eric's got issues. He has short-term and long-term memory problems; he can't remember who he ate for dinner yesterday, much less how he became a vampire in the first place. His best friend, Roger, is souring on the strip club he and Eric own together. And his girlfriend, Tabitha, keeps pressuring him to turn her so she can join him in undeath. It's almost enough to put a Vlad off his appetite. Almost.
Eric tries to solve one problem, only to create another: he turns Tabitha into a vampire, but finds that once he does, his desire for her fades — and her younger sister, Rachel, sure is cute. And when he kills a werewolf in self-defense, things really get out of hand. Now a pack of born-again lycanthropes is out for holy retribution, while Tabitha and Rachel have their own agendas — which may or may not include helping Eric stay in one piece.
All Eric wants to do is run his strip club, drink a little blood, and be left alone. Instead, he must survive car crashes, enchanted bullets, sunlight, sex magic, and werewolves on ice — not to mention his own nasty temper and forgetfulness.
Because being undead isn't easy, but it sure beats the alternative.

Eric has lost his strip club, his Mustang, and even Marilyn, the elderly love of his (mortal) life. Even his body was obliterated. In short, they almost got him. But when you're a vampire, "almost" is a very important word. With a little magical help from his friends, Eric is restored to corporeal form, but his treasured Mustang gets caught up in the sorcery and winds up with an unlife of its own. Now, along with "Fang the 'Stang," he's out to save Marilyn from one of Void City's most powerful soul-stealing demons. But salvation comes at a high price, forcing Eric to venture into his own worst nightmare, Vampire High Society, to uncover the truth about the origin of his powers.
At the same time, Eric's ex-girlfriend, Tabitha, has begun to wonder exactly what it was that she admired about those High Society Vampires in the first place. Her quest to find her own place in this deceptively vicious circle may lead her right back to Eric's side — if her little sister, Rachel, doesn't kill her first. And Eric will need all the help he can get, because it looks like someone is after his soul, too. Blood will flow, fangs will be bared, and the claws will come out, because revenge is never pretty...and Eric has plenty to pass around.

I have had a difficult time writing a review for these two books. They go together so well, especially since book two begins right after book one ends. Here's what I think are the elements of these books that stuck with me the most:
  • The dark humor. There were moments that made me laugh out loud but mostly it was just the overall tone of the books. A huge part of that is Eric and his point-of-view. Having a lousy short-term memory has made his attitude about his life pretty amusing. He had to become a go-with-the-flow person so he just deals with problems as they appear. 
  • His relationships with his friends and loved ones. In particular, Greta, his unofficially adopted daughter. Eric rescued Greta from her abusive parents when she was a pre-teen, raised her, and then turned her when she was twenty-one. She calls him Daddy and worships the ground he walks on and he is super protective of her. Their dialogue is pretty ridiculous and their relationship is twisted but stays within the boundaries of father-daughter sensibilities. 
  • The POV in these books switches back and forth between Eric and Tabitha, whole chapters at a time. That made it easier to tell more story since there's lots going on. It makes sense too since it looks like Lewis is setting up Eric and Tabitha as Emperor and Queen.
  • The violence. The world these characters live in is violent. The police in Void City are paid not to prosecute and instead issue out citations the locals call Fang Fees. Eric routinely kills the humans he feeds from though it's pretty unnecessary. Even the transition from human to vampire is violent (and extremely messy). 
  • Fang the Stang, the undead car.  
The third book in the Void City series, Crossed, doesn't have a release date yet. J. F. Lewis's website has this information on what happens for Eric and his group.

No comments: