Elevate Difference

Tall, Dark, and Fangsome (Immortality Bites)

Vampires are a dime a dozen these days. Everywhere you turn, there’s a new one ready to take your blood to prolong his un-life. Soon, there are going to be more vamps than humans, and then where will we be? (Read I Am Legend by Richard Matheson for the answer.) Between Twilight, True Blood, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, no human will be left unbitten, except that none of these vampires actually attack humans.

Tall, Dark and Fangsome adds nothing new to the decade old discussion of vampires. As we learn from Sarah Dearly, the unlikely protagonist, she is an Anne Rice-style vampire who likes dark makeup, blood in shot glasses at bars, emo, and brooding. Even Thierry de Bennicoeur, her ancient true love, is a standard vampire. Tall, Dark and Fangsome is the fifth in the Immortality Bites series.

Through the events of the first four novels in the series, Sarah has been given a nightwalker curse. This curse turns a standard vampire into the Nosferatu, the kind of vampire that (gasp) drinks blood from humans and enjoys it, because everyone knows that if you are forced to drink blood from a real, live human, you can’t enjoy it. Luckily for Sarah, her boyfriend has a convenient gold necklace that will stop the curse. She hates it because it’s so ugly, but without it, she’s likely to eat the first person she sees.

The main plot of this novel follows Sarah’s attempts to deal with Gideon Chase, a playboy billionaire cum vampire hunter who needs Sarah’s super-strong blood to remove his hellfire scars. In return for making him a vampire, he will give her the information she needs to free her from her ugly jewelry. Add in a Red Devil bodyguard, a vampire bodyguard with a penchant for standing in the shadows, a few meddling friends, and a teenage wizard with a love for death metal, and you have the plot of this novel, as well as anything vampire related in the last fifteen years. (Except Twilight, which doesn’t count since Edward isn’t a vampire; he’s a moody teenager.)

None of this would matter if the book was good, which it is not. It isn’t the worst novel ever written, but with no original ideas, the construction of the novel has to be perfect to carry it. This is far from it. The fantasy in Tall, Dark and Fangsome doesn’t equal a whole new world; there are just a few slight changes that don’t seem to affect anything. There are vampires everywhere, but everything looks exactly the same, except for the ability to order blood at bars. It’s lazy writing with little payoff.

I would love to call a moratorium on vampire books until someone has something new to contribute beyond "(s)he doesn’t want to be a vampire." If not, we’ll keep getting books like this; not bad, but filler in an already too full canon.

Written by: Taylor Rhodes, January 15th 2010