Saturday, 12 June 2010

The Reformed Vampire Support Group - Catherine Jinks

The Reformed Vampire Support Group is a YA/ teen novel by Catherine Jinks that was released in paperback on 4th June 2009 and it is 355 pages long.

Nina is 15 years old and lives in Sydney, Australia. She's been 15 ever since 1973. Being a vampire in Australia certainly isn't easy, especially when you aren't the type of vampire that is all the rage at the moment. Nina, along with others who form 'The reformed vampire support group' don't drink humans' blood, they don't go out in the daytime and they are always ill. These vampires have a pretty hard time really, surviving off the blood of Guinea Pigs and taking so many different vitamins just to stay alive...well, as alive as a vampire can be.

When a member of the group, Casimir, is found dead (a pile of ash) in his coffin, the group know that someone is on to them. The only clue left behind is a silver bullet which leads Nina, Dave and Father Ramon on an adventure into the Australian outback. They don't find what the expected though and are drawn into a world of werewolf fighting and some pretty scary men. Finding Casimir's killer isn't looking like it is going to be very easy.
Although I really enjoy reading YA books, most of them are more about romance than anything else so I bought this one because it sounded different to everything else that I have read recently. This is a book that will certainly appeal to younger teenagers as well as older readers, like myself.

It took me 4 tries to really get into the story of this one. Each time I picked it up and read a few pages, I couldn't really see the story going anywhere good so I put it down again for a couple of days. Once I finally got about 3 or 4 chapters in, things started to pick up and everything got a lot more interesting. If you can look past the extremely slow start, then you will be in for a good read.

The characters were the most interesting part of the story because they are what the story is mainly about. Poor Nina has been 15 for a long time and even though she is quite old now, she still looks and acts like a teenager most of the time. I felt really sorry for her as she obviously couldn't have any kind of a normal life and go out and party, let alone have a boyfriend. The only thing she has in common with the support group is that they are all vampires so she often feels out of place with no one to really talk to. The whole story is told by Nina and the way she tells it was witty, funny and interesting. Once the story had gotten started properly, Nina made everything sound quite exciting which kept me interested. I loved her personality and her views on being a vampire were different to say the least.

Nina's mum was by far my favourite character. As an old lady, you would have though she was quite timid and freaked out by what her daughter is but Estelle was quite the opposite. Estelle had balls of steel, a potty mouth and is not afraid of anyone. After all, she was a barmaid for most of her life. Estelle was also a real mum for the most part, worrying about Nina and making sure that she ate properly and took care of herself, giving Estelle two quite different personalities at times.

I loved the inclusion of Reuben, the werewolf and how he was thrown into the story. This aspect of the story is unlike anything I have previously read about werewolves and it made for a very welcome change. Reuben isn't all fury and cuddly though. He's a teen werewolf with more problems and attitude than the vampires so the contrast between the two races was interesting to read about.

Seeing as all of the vampires are technically adults, there is a fair amount of bad language throughout the story. It is only done every now and again and at some of the more exciting parts but it wasn't overdone. This is something to think about though depending on the age of the reader.

The best thing about this book was that it was so different to any other vampire book I have read. Never have I heard of vampires who don't act like typical vampires at all and this was something that really interested me. I love to read something that breaks away from stereotypes and tries to stand out from the other novels being published at the moment. This book had comedy, a little romance, action, excitement and adventure, making it an overall great book.


Unknown said...

This book sounds so good. I love vamps but this just sounds so funny :D

Alexia561 said...

This does sound pretty different, and I don't think I've ever read any vampire stories set in Australia so that's an added bonus! Great review!

prophecygirl said...

I really enjoyed this one. Can't wait for the wolfy sequel!

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