Thirst 1 & 2 follow the lead of The Vampire Diaries in cramming multiple novels into one package.  This is wonderful.  It's cheaper and you don't have to wait to read the next one.  These two series can both do it because they were published in the early 1990s.  Also, they're relatively short.  Can you imagine a collection of all the Twilight novels?  It'd be bigger than my plethora of Shakespeare's collected works volumes.

Thirst number one includes three novels:  The Last Vampire, Black Blood, and Red Dice.  They're the first parapseudos I've read by a male author, and they're remarkably different on a couple fronts.  I'm not yet willing to say that all male-written teen vamp novels will be the same.  I'll have to read more before I get all feministy. 

First main difference:  the romance.  It's not really there.  None of the squishy stuff like the previous novels I've read.  It's all about love.  Eternal love.  Caring love.  Undying love.  The kissing is bland, if present at all.  The sex scenes are only hinted at.  Bummer!

Second main difference:  the gory fights.  These are definitely action-packed, detailed, and frequent.  They play out well with the whole noirish feel of the plot.

  • Refreshing.  I was really tiring of the same old story.  The author combined vampire stuff with a little Lawrence Sanders-style detective/spy stuff.
  • Finally an actual Badass Female.  Sita/Alisa/Lara doesn't make daily decisions based on her whirlwind teen emotions.  Maybe that's because she's spent 5000 years as a teenager?  Her angst would've been buried with King Tut.  She does break up with God for a few guys, but it's not something she's torn about really.  She makes a decision, and then lives with it.  
  • Historical references.  I loved this aspect.  Sita is one of the original vamps, created in ancient India by a god-human hybrid.  We meet a few Indian deities, and we find out that Sita's met a host of famous people over the 50 centuries:  Socrates, Da Vinci, Stoker, etc. 
  • Quick read.  Not that I don't love to languish in a great novel, but a quick-moving plot is always best.  The author doesn't waste time summarizing past events or re-describing everything and everyone.  Always a forward, purposeful momentum.
  • Writing.  Pike's adept at imagery, metaphor, detail, dialogue.  
  • Humor.  Sita's funny.  Sometimes she means to be, and other times her ancient personality is hilarious.  I love it when she says stuff like "I can easily fly an Army helicopter. I have mastered every invention humans have ever created."
  • Love time line.  She falls in love within days.  Maybe that's okay for a 5000-year-old teen, but how is it possible for a contemporary American teenage boy?  Sita doesn't even do any vampy hypno work on him.  
  • General time line.  In a couple months, she falls in love, wipes out all Los Angeles vamps, blows up a mansion, kills about 50 LAPD and FBI agents, creates a ruckus labeled "terrorism" for its epic scale, infiltrates Area 51, and nukes the Nevada desert.
  • Absence of contractions.  Okay.  With Sita, I get it.  She's been around before English was a language.  In fact, I like it in her.  However, I don't like it in the other characters.  Why would an Oregon teen fail to contract?  What modern teen says, "I do not understand"?  Also, there could be a little more consistency.  Sita contracts in thought, but not in speech.
  • God stuff.  It's a little interesting, but I have a hard time swallowing the whole "I want to be in the grace of God" stuff.  Praying, loving a deity, talking to others about God--is this a vampire's mandate?  Apparently.
I like this series despite some of the cheesy stuff.  It doesn't massage my professor muscle like the Gemma Doyle (A great and Terrible Beauty) or Clary Fray (The Mortal Instruments) novels, but it's good, entertaining writing.  I'll definitely get the second collection.  I read somewhere that there's a new one coming out after many, many years.  Looks like Pike's cashing in on the new parapseudo craze.  Smart guy.  I wonder how Sita will change.

I can see this as a movie--and one that could appeal to several demographics, not just the curious teen girls.  If they did it right, even people like my dad--who loves "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"--would be interested. 

In fact, I brought this book to my dad.  We'll see if he reads it.

1 comment:

  1. Sigh. I tried to post a comment but blogger was a jerk so you might get two of these. ANYWAY, for the second time:

    Great review, you hit on almost every issue I had with this book, good and bad. You're absolutely right about Sita. I didn't really like her as a character, but I admired her from a writing standpoint, because Sita is one of the few YA vampires that actually sounds and behaves like a vampire (for the most part). She's very morally flexible, she's cold and indifferent to most humans, she's never driven by any sort of ridiculous altruistic motive, and most importantly, she isn't tortured and doesn't play stupid human games. She's accepted herself and her nature, and you actually believe that she could be thousands of years old. She doesn't read like a whiny teenager with fangs.

    On the other hand, the mythology can get really cheesy, and I think potentially alienating. I liked that the origins and mythos were completely different from almost every vampire book I've ever read, and I admire Pike for really going for it, and threading this spirituality theme throughout the whole thing, but it's really hard to read destruction goddess and Jesus reincarnated into babies with a straight face. And yeah, all the philosophy stuff can be a bit much.

    Pike's writing wore on me a bit too, though. The melodrama made me cringe more often than laugh, especially through the first book, but either it improves or you get used to it, because by the time I hit Black Blood I didn't notice as much.

    I lol'd at Sita's ability to do anything, too. She's like the Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver: able to do whatever the plot requires.

    Nice call on the teenager's lack of contractions, btw. That was on my list, too.

    I'm curious to see where PIke could possibly go with a new installment, I mean, he pretty well wound things up by the sixth book, but Hell, I'm up for another turn with Sita. And honestly, I'm just glad to head Pike's actually alive and still writing.