Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst
Pearl is part of The Family. Of vampires, that is. She's living her undead life, visiting the local ice cream shop and persuading the guy manning the counter to eat a specific flavor of ice cream so when she drinks his blood she gets a little extra flavor. One night when she leaves she is startled and then stabbed in her heart by a unicorn. Yes, a unicorn, a mystical being that even her family of vampires doesn't believe exist. The result of the unicorn attack is that Pearl
loses her "allergy" to sunlight, can start to see her reflection and, horror upon horrors, she starts to feel sympathy for humans (it's really hard to see somebody as your meal when you have sympathetic feeligns toward them). Amidst this change in Pearl's personal being The Family has been asked to host the Vampire King's Fealty Ceremony for the new crop of vampires. And a feast requires something to feast on, right? Well, enter Pearl and her new "talent" and the ability to attend high school and make friends that can fill that certain role in the feast. Will Pearl be able to overcome her new sympathetic feelings towards humans in order to follow the orders of her Family and appease the requirements of the Vampire King? Or will whatever happened when she was stabbed by the unicorn continue to change her and her focus in life? And, will she ever find that freakin' unicorn again?
I adored this story. I'm really becoming a fan of Sarah Beth Durst (although I pretty much have been since reading Ice). She's got a great way with words and tells a really interesting story. Now, I have to admit, of all the paranormal genres (werewolves, vampires, zombies, etc.) I would probably pick a vampire book near the end of the list. I really don't know why I would--one of my all-time favorite shows to watch was Buffy, the Vampire Slayer--but maybe it has to do with the vampires being the main character and not the humans chasing/slaying them. I just don't want to read about a protagonist that drinks blood (must be all part of my aversion to mosquitoes). (And, honestly, sometimes when Pearl was "eating" I didn't want to continue on with the story.) So, I sort of surprised myself by picking this book to review. I'm pretty sure the unicorn and the fact that she becomes a "real girl" had something to do with my interest.
Anyway, as I mentioned just a bit ago I am a Buffy fan and a lot of this story reminded me of that series. Pearl is sarcastic, has superstrength and a desire to play by her own rules even though she is tasked to certain jobs by her Family--just like Buffy. Other than that I really don't know why I kept getting the Buffy vibe but the comparisons kept popping into my head the entire time I was reading the book--well, once I got to the part where she started going to public school--and that endeared the book to me more than I expected.
One of the best parts of the book was all the crazy, fun, interesting and funny characters in the book. On of my favorites was the creation of Pearl's own "Scooby Gang" that consisted of smarty pants Bethany (think Willow) and cutie Evan (maybe a cross between Xander, Angel and Oz?). Oh, and there were these two slayer wannabe's--Zeke and Matt--who first captured Pearl after her transformation started and she was immune to the effects of sunlight and they turn out to be such a fun duo and great comic relief. And that's not even starting in on all the wacky characters that make up Pearl's family--the most informative for Pearl's educational needs being 80s (and John Hughes movies) loving cousin Antionette.
There were so many high points to this book I'm going to have to stop right here (and possibly go back and read it again) mostly so I don't inadvertantly give any spoilers.
P.S. Is it me or do the lips on the cover remind you of Anne Hathaway?
I received an advanced copy from the publisher for a fair and honest review. Drink, Slay, Love is now available from Simon & Schuster.