Thursday, 31 October 2013

David Wellington's '13 Bullets'

’13 Bullets’ is a vampire tale, and boy is it a vampire tale!

Laura Caxton is a Pennsylvania State Trooper who for some reason (she has to figure out) is pulled into a case with the Special Deputy Jameson Arkeley as they hunt for the last few vampires in America who have literally been ripping up the town in pieces. Arkeley wants them all dead, no matter the reason, and Caxton? Well not only is she terrified and too green for such a case (since she just works highway patrol), but she wants to know why, seeming they are targeting her specifically.

Firstly, the whole world seems to know about vampires, and while this is interesting for the story, I really enjoy how different these vampires are. There is a focus on the animalistic side, but also on the force of how unnatural a vampire is. They are given different physical qualities (I enjoy the difference with their teeth compared to the average vampire in other texts) and their psychic connections are interesting to read. There is also a lot of gore and blood everywhere, something I enjoyed and missed from reading more traditional horror texts lately. The gore-factor kept it modern and high-intensity.

In terms of the main characters, I enjoyed Arkeley who is the typical alpha male character for a novel like this (I’m a sucker for those), but Caxton is different in terms of the fact that she is rather green, more afraid than courageous and actually doesn’t seem to have a lot going for her as a character as she needs to mature a lot. This makes Caxton much more relatable in a way as the average reader wouldn’t be close to Arekley’s hardcore vampire-hunting personality. That being said, I found that Arkeley outshone her (just from personal preference).

The ending however seemed a little flat. Not because the problems these two cops were facing weren’t necessarily thoroughly resolved, nor the plot twists that came through the novel, but because a second book is to come. Whether Arkeley will return or not, I do not know, but if he doesn’t it will mean that I will feel let down by the ending slightly as I would like to know more about him.

Overall, I really liked this book that tried to remove itself from traditional viewpoints of vampire tales.  I don’t recommend squeamish readers taking on this book, but I think anyone who is looking for a non-romantic take on the vampire should give Wellington’s book a go (particularly since he started out by uploading chapters of his first novel ‘Monster Island’ on a friend’s blog).


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