For me, ‘Dracula’ is the best vampire novel there is, and nothing has come close to surpassing it. Off the top of my head, I think the only other vampire story I’ve enjoyed is ‘My Swordhand is Singing’. Always on the lookout for more stories in this genre, when ‘Lost Souls’ came up as a suggestion, I decided to see if Poppy Brite’s first novel lived up to the claim on the cover – “the original cult novel of vampire chic”.
‘At a club in Missing Mile, just outside New Orleans, the children of the night gather. They dress in black and they’re looking for acceptance. There’s Ghost, who sees what others do not; Ann, looking for love; and Jason, whose real name is Nothing, seeking the deathless truth about his father – and himself.
But into Missing Mile tonight comes three beautiful, hip vagabonds. They are on their own lost journey, slaking their ancient thirst for blood, aching for supple young flesh.
They find it in Nothing and Ann. Now Ghost must pursue them all to save Ann from her new friends, to save Nothing from himself.’
The prologue was the most interesting part of the book. We’re introduced to New Orleans and the trio of vampires who are passing through. There’s also Christian, a vampire barkeep, and the young woman who’ll become Nothing’s mother.
The story then fast-forwards 15 years. And it didn’t take long for boredom to creep in. There was no character memorable enough to make me care, except maybe Ghost. I know the book was published in the ‘90s but the amount of goth-emo teenage angst was just too much.
I’m the first one to put up my hand and say I know nothing of the ‘goth’ culture, but what I was reading came across as nothing more than caricature. I’m sure there was more to it than black clothes, black hair and heavy eyeliner, with Bauhaus and The Cure being the music of choice.
As I said in last week’s review, I’m no prude. I don’t have any issue with sex, and that includes gay sex. But I did pause at the amount of sex, told in graphic detail and predominantly gay, being had by the mid-teen crowd.
There’s a huge amount of telling, not much variation in description – nearly every young boy/man is androgynously thin, has hair “that fell in long strands over his eyes”, and has self-inflicted razor scars. Oh. And there’s kudzu everywhere.
One of my personal dislikes is not finishing a book. No matter what, I always persevere, though, recently, there have been a couple of books I didn’t finish. Add to that list, ‘Lost Souls’. I made it as far as page 80 and will go no further.
Not only am I not a prude, I’ve also read some pretty horrific things in the past. But the one thing that I will not tolerate is incest, especially when it has no bearing on the plot. At all. Obsessed with becoming a vampire, a teenage girl seduces her father, so she can drink his blood, having cut his neck with a razor; and we’re given the details of said seduction. I also found out that further along in the book, there’s more incest, this time between father and son. Glad I stopped when I did.
First time in my life, I’m rating a book 1*. I’d give it a ‘0’ but for the fact that I like Brite’s idea of having the vampires a separate species to humans, which means vampires can’t infect humans; if you’re not born a vampire, you’ll never become one.
Apparently, Brite’s next book is much better, and her other books are too. Personally, I think I’ll be giving all of them a miss.
On to more interesting things… I’ve added to my reading list. While sorting and rearranging, I discovered books I’d bought and put aside to be read later!
This one sounds so interesting; a ‘Beauty and the Beast’ story which includes elements of Russian folklore:
Another one by Stephen King, this time a collection of stories. I must say, my favourite King books have always been his story collections:
Love the cover of this one; a fantasy novel with muskets and magic; gives me the impression of a war much like the American Civil War in another universe: