When readers hear of a new piece of vampire fiction that is soon to be published, they seem to do one of two things: squeal (i.e. teenage girls or diehard fans of Twilight) or groan (i.e. readers who strongly detest Twilight and other similar works of vampire fiction). Vampire fiction has changed so much since Bram Stoker’s Dracula and while the new vampire fiction will appeal to some readers, it most certainly won’t appeal to others. One such writer has seen this change and wanted to create a story around it. The newest addition to the Sword & Laser Collection on Inkshares.com, An Unattractive Vampire is Jim McDoniel’s debut novel and it brings justice to true fictional vampires.
In the 17th century, Vampire Yulric Bile was trapped underground. After finally awakening three centuries later from his long slumber, he finds himself in a modern world where he is not considered a vampire. Modern vampires are beautiful, weak, and… the good guys: Yulric possesses none of these traits and is called everything but what he truly is. Disgusted by what the world has done to portray his kind, Yulric sets out to find who is responsible for the “modern vampire” to either correct the wrong they have committed against his kind or to murder them.
McDoniel has a real knack for writing and a wonderful sense of humor all readers will enjoy. An Unattractive Vampire is an incredibly unique story and a breath of fresh air for fans of vampire fiction where the vampires are actually vampires, not the sparkly, angst-driven, creeper vampires of modern day teen fiction. Another refreshing aspect is the unpredictability of the story. Readers will find it difficult to figure out what Yulric will do next and will be pleasantly surprised with the content, both creepy and humorous, every chapter has to offer.
It is noticeable that McDoniel did research on all things vampire, both traditional and modern, and made his vampire characters as well as Yulric Bile’s history believable and fun. Yulric is a well-written character and, though he is unlikeable to the other characters of the story, readers will more than likely become instant fans of his. To the two humans Yulric lives with, the young nurse Amanda and her younger brother Simon, he acts like a crazy, yet strangely loveable uncle and the constant clashes between Amanda and Yulric, a nurse who is trained to save lives versus a vampire bred to kill, is very entertaining.
Along with the humor of the story, McDoniel’s randomness is so much fun to read. Readers will notice footnotes at the bottom of most pages for the first half of the book. These footnotes are not mandatory in understanding the story as a whole; however, they provide entertainment that closely resembles a fourth wall break, these short blurbs sounding like McDoniel himself is addressing his readers with fun facts and tidbits about his story.
With a well-balanced mixture of creativity, humor, randomness, and vampire research, An Unattractive Vampire is a great addition to any bookshelf. Readers who detest modern-day vampires will instantly fall in love with McDoniel’s traditional Nosferatu-like vampire, Yulric, while readers who enjoy modern vampire fiction may find aspects of the story they actually enjoy. If this story were to gain movie rights, readers could more than likely see this being a Tim Burton film in the future. For those looking for a new work of vampire fiction to read, An Unattractive Vampire is not the new Twilight, nor does it try to replace the well-known classic of Dracula. It is its own enjoyable work with a unique new look at vampire fiction that brings justice back to the name of “traditional vampire.”
Originally published at www.examiner.com on March 10, 2016.