This is an interesting review for me to write. I initially didn’t have a lot of interest in American Vampire because it’s a vampire story set in the old west. But so many people said it was good. In fact, I’ve never heard anyone say a negative thing about it. Not even little nit picky stuff. So I was almost dismayed when I first tried to read it and absolutely couldn’t get into it. It’s not unusual that my opinion differs from popular notions, but this was weirdly off for me. So I put it down and read some other stuff. It’s entirely possible I just wasn’t in the mood.
I came back it, and yeah. Sometimes a book is just entirely not for you in any shape form or fashion. I’ll say this. There are characters of color in the book. Two I believe. Both die. But it’s a horror story so nothing unusual here. They’re Mexican Americans and are called all manner of derogatory names by Skinner. Bla Bla about keeping with the times and showing Skinner to be awful. Whatever, I don’t want to read it. Especially since we know both characters are going to die at Skinner’s hands.
So here’s what American Vampire is. It’s the story of a genetic offshoot of Vampires that crop up in America. See, traditional vampires as we know them existed in Europe for a long time and formed some sort of aristocracy. They moved to America and had all kinds of money. Then this one bank robber (who is just a vile person) gets turned into a Vampire. The thing is, he’s an entirely different strain of Vampire from the old Euro models. He’s all Americanized. He can’t be killed by sunlight or drowning. He’s weaker in the full moon, and that’s about the only time they can be killed. So they’re like super vampires. They also have wicked claws and such. So all around much better than their European counterparts. I actually find the play between those two types of vampires interesting.
Here’s the thing. The rest of the story doesn’t absolutely nothing for me. In one part of the story we are following Pearl Jones, an actress who was served up as dinner to a group of Euro style vampires and ended up being saved by Skinner Sweet (our bank robber turned new vampire). I don’t really have a lot of feelings for her or her roommate. She’s doing the struggling actress thing who sort of has the hots for this older actor dude and that leads to her being served up for dinner. Then we follow through her learning how to be a vampire and going on a revenge spree. Then her roommate is turned into a vampire and turned against her. They fight. Pearl wins with the help of a vagabond she has grown to like, then goes and fights more vampires. It just did nothing for me at all.
The second story follows Skinner Sweet from a bank robber who’s completely okay with rape to a Vampire who is completely unlikable. To me, the problem isnt’ that he’s unlikable. He’s suppose to be, I get it. It’s just he’s not anyone I want to follow in a story. I find the character so repulsive as to not care. There’s not a single redeeming thing about him, and we know he’s going to survive all this. We know that the characters that are set up in opposition to him are going to lose. We know that this mayor and his son are going to die. We know this lawman who is chasing him down won’t survive.
Side note. The story of James Book is awful. He’s a detective sent to hunt down Skinner Sweet. He does this pretty well before Skinner turns him into a vampire. He lives his life trying to not be a vampire until he can’t control it anymore. He’s a good dude. His god daughter Abilena just wants to bone him hard. Real hard. That’s actually the only thing we see in the character the entire book. She wants to bone James Book. At the end of Book’s life he figures out that he can be damaged when there’s no moon. He wants to be dead. So he makes a deal. He’ll bone her brains out if she promises to kill him. So he bones her and she kills him. Then she has a kid and goes to hunt Skinner.
So that’s the story. Pearl is a vampire killing vampire machine. Skinner is an awful person who we’re suppose to want to follow and root for, but I don’t because I find him disgusting. All the other characters in the book are just there as foils to die. Well, Pearl’s vagabond boyfriend has survived so far, as well as Book’s god daughter/baby mama. Everyone else is fodder. It doesn’t make me hate Skinner more that he’s out here killing good people just trying to do their jobs. It makes me not want to read the book anymore. So I won’t.