June 6, 2011

Review: The Vampire Stalker by Allison van Diepen

The Vampire Stalker
Author: Allison van Diepen
Publisher: Point
ISBN: 0545283752
Purchase Information:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

*Novel provided by the publisher for a honest review

For more information please visit Allison van Diepen's website.

What if the characters in a vampire novel left their world--and came into yours?

Amy is in love with someone who doesn't exist: Alexander Banks, the dashing hero in a popular series of vampire novels. Then one night, Amy meets a boy who bears an eerie resemblance to Alexander. In fact, he IS Alexander, who has escaped from the pages of the book and is in hot pursuit of a wicked vampire named Vigo. Together, Amy and Alexander set out to track Vigo and learn how and why Alexander crossed over. But when she and Alexander begin to fall for each other, Amy wonders if she even wants him to ever return to the realm of fiction.

The Vampire Stalker by Allison van Diepen is one of those novels that instantly hooks you before you even open the novel with the simple appealing question of what if your favorite character, the one that you can't seem to get out of your head, was real? Just think of the recent Twilight insanity and you can certainly understand why this novel is appealing as a similarly popular vampire series called 'Otherworld' spills into one fan girl's life. Of course, while the premise is wonderfully unique and certainly quite appealing and fun, there was some lack luster plotting that did leave me hanging bit. However, this was an enjoyable novel and I really loved this fun and romantic tale that's perfect for tweens!

The world building is adequate creating two variations of Chicago, one stuck in the 1920's and terrorized by vampires while the other variation is the modern city of this world. While neither is really gone in to in great detail, it's easy to accept the world as we know it, however, I would have loved to know more about Alexander's home of Otherworld Chicago, a world in which the heroine Amy is intimately knowledgeable of through the books of Elizabeth Howard. But, it seemed like little information is ever really given to the reader leaving a vast blind spot in which we are only given the most basic of information. It seemed really sad considering I was eager to learn more of a world inhabited by vampires in which the humans live their lives by day and stay safely locked away throughout the night as well as getting to know more about Vampire Stalkers, or rather hunters, who fight against these monstrous creatures. But, not only was I interested in this aspect, but in the idea that there is a social structure among the vampires as well with leadership and I'm guessing some form of agenda. There was also mention of a peace treaty between humans and vampires, something else that I found intriguing. However, we never get to learn anything about this. Instead, it's more just left out there, hanging.

The characters, in a way, were much the same. While Amy and Alexander are nicely developed characters, characters that I rather liked, it felt like there was something of a vacuum in which these are the only two that we are really exposed to. Amy herself is quite likable and relatable to readers. She's the one who stands in line all day to receive a copy of the latest book from her favorite series, writes fan fiction, and talks online with other fans, and has in depth conversations about the series with her friends. In ways, she's similar to all of us, eager to find out what happens next in our favorite fandoms and has an invested interest in our favorite character's lives. When she meets Alexander she is understandably suspicious, but based on her vast knowledge of his life in Otherworld, she quickly comes to believe his story. Alexander is something of a rigid character with old fashioned values. He believes his destiny is tied up with Vigo, the vampire who murdered his family, the vampire who he's been hunting for the better part of his life. Alexander, while interesting, I felt came off as only two dimensional, not fully realized like Amy was. We never really know a lot about him or his history, just glimpses from the book that chronicles his life. I was really saddened to never get to see much of his personality, but again, a lot of this is due to the way in which he was raised in a world that still encouraged restrained emotions. But, it just felt like when he was in the scene, there was very little 'personal' or 'emotional' appeal. Of course this could be said throughout the story as well.

The romance, however, was actually pretty nicely done. You could really feel the tension mounting between Alexander and Amy and I really loved seeing Amy's vulnerability when it came to him. The way she sees herself is understandable with the whole 'there's no way someone like him could like someone like me' thing. I actually found this rather endearing because she never really lets these emotions take over. Instead, she goes about helping Alexander and trying to save her sister putting her feelings about him on the back burner. When he requites her feelings, it's actually quite sweet and you start really rooting for these two, despite the looming knowledge that he will have to return to his world soon. Overall, it's a sweet, chaste relationship that I enjoyed watching develop and grow.

What I really felt was lacking however, was the plotting. I felt like there was so much unused potential that was over looked creating the possibility of some great action. But, the action seemed to never come and the threat Vigo presented was really quite lack luster. In fact, I felt like most of the story was build up. Build up of the relationship between Amy and Alexander and build up of the threat that Vigo presents, however, only one aspect really came to satisfactory end. In truth, I was more intrigued by the world of Otherworld then I was by the danger lurking in our own. Then there was the lack of emotion appeal. It seemed like nothing save a bit of romance every really developed despite the perfect atmosphere for suspense and tension.

Overall, I did enjoy the story though despite the fact that I would have liked to see far more development then we got. The characters were interesting and the plot was unique and original. This is really quite a fast read, so it's easy to overlook some of the lacking elements leaving this a fun read. I think tweens will find this the most enjoyable, but there are some cute aspects that will appeal to the older crowds looking for some light reading.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Scars

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