Monday, August 25, 2008

If Woody Allen Were Undead: Life Sucks by Jessica Abel and Friends

"I'm a geek. I'm participating in a geek activity with my geek friends, checking out the cute geeky girl I like, and what the hell are you and your goddamn cheekbones doing here?"

Good lord. A geeky vampire loser. Just what the vampire genre needs to compensate for Stephenie Meyer.

Life Sucks is a campy, ironic take on goth vampire romance. Test question: there is a vampire on the cover. Which one is it? Nooo, not any of the stylish goth people in the's the store clerk gazing out the window who's the undead mensch. Unlike Rosa, the love interest (she's the one in the black bikini top and skull-and-crossbones handbag) and her swanky boyfriend (right behind her), Dave actually has to live the life. And it turns out your career options are limited when you can't expose yourself to sunlight. Not to mention when your undead master "created" you for the sole purpose of gaining a cheap, unkillable employee at his 24-hour convenience store. ("Iss not for nossing I have vampire for night manager! Iss part of business plan! Convenience store night shift very dangerous for mortal. At Last Stop iss dangerous for creemeenal! ")

Dave's master, Lord Radu Arisztidescu, is disgusted with the fact that Dave refuses to hunt people and exists on plasma stolen from blood banks. (Pre-vampire Dave was a vegetarian). Because of his anemic diet, Dave lacks normal vampire powers such as super strength, and he also lacks the vamp mentality to practise vampire hypnotism and make vampire brides. Despite Dave's being such a "vooss", as Lord Radu brands him, he ends up challenging ghoulish vampire hotshot Wes (who already has three bleached-blonde vampire brides but wouldn't mind adding a brunette to his collection) over the heart of the lovely Rosa.

There's a lot of dry humour in this book, and while it flirts with blackness, it only really gets ugly in one scene. The dialogue is full of snappy repartee. And there is some wistfulness at the end. Considering that almost all the story takes place at night, the art is relatively bright and snappy too. Definitely a hip teen read.

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