A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising by Raymond A. Villareal

Vampire_Uprising

A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising
By Raymond A. Villareal
Publisher: Mulholland Books
ISBN: 9780316561686
Pages: 432
Genre: Science Fiction/Paranormal

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A virus that turns people into something somehow more than human quickly sweeps the world, upending society as we know it.

This panoramic thriller begins with one small mystery. The body of a young woman found in an Arizona border town, presumed to be an illegal immigrant, walks out of the town morgue. To the young CDC investigator called in to consult the local police, it’s a bizarre medical mystery.

More bodies, dead of a mysterious disease that solidifies their blood, are brought to the morgue, and disappear. In a futile game of catch-up, the CDC, the FBI, and the US government must come to terms with what they’re too late to stop: an epidemic of vampirism that will sweep first the United States, and then the world.

Impossibly strong, smart, poised, beautiful, and commanding, these vampires reject the term as derogatory, preferring the euphemistic “gloamings.” They quickly rise to prominence in all aspects of modern society: sports, entertainment, and business. Soon people are begging to be ‘re-created,’ willing to accept the risk of death if their bodies can’t handle the transformation. The stakes change yet again when a charismatic and wealthy businessman, recently turned, decides to do what none of his kind has done before: run for political office.

This sweeping yet deeply intimate fictional oral history–told from the perspectives of several players on all sides of the titular vampire uprising–is a genre-bending, shocking, immersive and subversive debut that is as addictive as the power it describes.


My Thoughts

A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising appealed to me with the promise of science fiction encapsulating a tale of the paranormal. I have and probably will always hold an affection for vampires and their mythical abilities and immortality. So when a book promises exactly that merged with one of my favorites genres, it is sure to be my cup of tea. And I have to admit, it went down pretty smooth!

The skinny..

Hard to fully summarize, this is an interesting timeline that follows the evolution of a disease and the impact it has on society. When a young woman’s body is discovered and then disappears from a local town morgue, a CDC investigator soon realizes there is something mysterious happening. As more bodies begin to surface and then also disappear, the CDC, FBI, and Government find they have a new virus and epidemic on their hands that can only be described as vampirism. As infected individuals that are now known as Gloamings emerge, they soon begin a campaign to stake their claim within a society that is equally terrified and mesmerized by them. A battle for power and control is brewing.

What I appreciate..

  • As a debut novel, this is one of the most ambitious I have encountered. Villareal has left no stone unturned, brilliantly covering all potential facets of an uprising.
  • The writing is knowledgeable and thorough, providing evidence of the author’s dedication and labor to the craft that sets a significantly high standard.
  • World building is solid and very reminiscent of the present, crafting something frighteningly familiar and viable.
  • Alternating perspectives, cleverly inserted footnotes and mixed media carve a concise and clear timeline of events that offer the reader a complete and fully engaging experience.
  • The author successfully combines elements of the paranormal and science providing something innovative and new, daring to examine humanity from every imaginable angle. This is an all-encompassing story ranging from religious and political viewpoints to the effects of a virus on the lives of everyday people and society.

Challenges some may encounter..

  • Multiple points of view can detract from establishing a solid connection with specific characters.
  • The pacing fluctuated greatly between specific perspectives.
  • The Gloamings were a fascinating new race that warranted more spotlight than they are given within the story. I craved more development than what we are shown.
  • During the last 25% or so the timeline takes an odd shift and the waters finally become muddled.
  • An abrupt ending felt incomplete.

Ultimately, A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising is a highly motivated read that offers something incredibly thorough and complex. The author leaves no avenue unexplored, covering every thinkable aspect (I know I have said this, but I cannot stress it enough). Fans of science fiction and the paranormal will easily devour its pages, but perhaps find themselves needing just a little more. If you do not mind alternating PoVs and the shifting pace, I highly recommend this one!

*I would like to thank Mulholland Books for this advanced copy. The above review is my own, unbiased and honest opinion.

tea cup

Serves well with a nice Pu’erh or favorite caffeinated blend to settle in for a long, gripping read.

Grab a Copy: Amazon.com

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*Disclosure: I use affiliate links and may earn a small commission for purchases made through them. Click here for details.

Happy Reading,
Danielle ❤

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A Few Thoughts & Goodreads Ratings on Books I Failed to Review

Unfortunately, time seems to be against me these past few months as I notice that I am accumulating a list of “read” titles on Goodreads that I never managed to review. So I thought I would share a few thoughts and my final Goodreads rating on them today.


the_atrocitiesThe Atrocities
By Jeremy Shipp

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Final GR rating: 3/5

This was a wonderfully creepy novella that hooked me from the start. I was instantly drawn into the mystery of Isabella and the gothic setting. I appreciated the author’s ability to immediately set the stage for a mysterious and fast-paced story that managed to deliver something original. It did feel like it began to unhinge slightly toward the end, however, lowering my final score to an even 3/5. I would still easily recommend this to fans of supernatural and horror novellas.

into_the_drowning_deepInto the Drowning Deep
By Mira Grant

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Final GR rating: 3/5

This is an author I am still trying to find my ground with. While I admit that I enjoyed Into the Drowning Deep much more than her Every Heart a Doorway, it was a slow start. But when I finally gained my footing I found that this was simply entertaining and for that worth my time. I love the idea of mermaids and sirens and will always appreciate any author who attempts to connect them to their darker origins (which is certainly the case here). My chief complaint would be that I found the characters less than engaging at times and the execution felt off. The pacing seemed to fluctuate a lot. I did enjoy the exploration of the creatures’ anatomy and the scientific elements incorporated throughout. Perhaps I was expecting something a little more frightening? Still, if you are into the mysterious deep dark sea and mythological creatures, you might try this on for size.

the_shape_of_waterThe Shape of Water
By Guillermo del Toro, Daniel Kraus

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Final GR rating: 3/5

Okay, so here is the truth; I wanted to love this book and I did not. I loved the film, but somehow I struggled with certain aspects of this story on page. I appreciated the additional insight and backstory that are provided here though. I feel it is a wonderful addition to the film, but also one of the rare cases where I would suggest watching before reading. I think that the alternating PoVs started to weigh on me, as there were certain characters I truly disliked reading about. And at times the pacing was too slow for my taste. It just failed to move me or engage even remotely close to the way the film did. Which is something you will rarely hear me say! But then again, I hold a special affection for del Toro’s films and maybe my expectations were too high. It is still an incredibly beautiful story that as we have come to expect of his work challenges humanity and dares to question who the real monsters are.

brave_new_girlBrave New Girl
By Rachel Vincent

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Final GR rating 4/5

This was an on the whim audible listen that was surprisingly perfect for me. It is a dystopian tale that follows young Dahlia 16 who is part of a series of clones bred to be anything but unique or different. Doing so means being flawed. Being flawed leads to recalls (i.e destroyed). So what happens when she starts breaking all of the rules? Ok so this one was not overly complex and is somewhat brief, but it felt like an honest start to something truly appealing. The author’s writing was fluid and the protagonist viable. All elements here just worked for me and I was hooked. Simply put, it was fun!

the_changelingThe Changeling
By Victor Lavalle

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Final GR rating: 4/5

Gah! I do not even know where to start with this one. I am just going to be upfront and state that this was close to being a 5 star read until things took a detour during the last 25% or so of the story. It is beautifully written and full of the unexpected. Think modern fairy tale for adults with that added moral compass and valuable message we expect from them. It is ambitious, engaging and for the most part, wonderfully executed. Unfortunately, the final events deviated too far for me and it left me with mixed feelings.


Have you read any of the above books? If so, what were your thoughts? Which are you most likely to pick up?

Happy Reading,
Danielle ❤

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Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman

35274560Unbury Carol
By Josh Malerman
Publisher: Del Rey
ISBN: 9780399180163
Pages: 384
Genre: Horror/Fantasy

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Carol Evers is a woman with a dark secret. She has died many times . . . but her many deaths are not final: They are comas, a waking slumber indistinguishable from death, each lasting days.

Only two people know of Carol’s eerie condition. One is her husband, Dwight, who married Carol for her fortune, and—when she lapses into another coma—plots to seize it by proclaiming her dead and quickly burying her . . . alive. The other is her lost love, the infamous outlaw James Moxie. When word of Carol’s dreadful fate reaches him, Moxie rides the Trail again to save his beloved from an early, unnatural grave.

And all the while, awake and aware, Carol fights to free herself from the crippling darkness that binds her—summoning her own fierce will to survive. As the players in this drama of life and death fight to decide her fate, Carol must in the end battle to save herself.


My Thoughts

Unbury Carol landed hot on my radar when I initially heard of its upcoming April release. Malerman made a lasting impression on me with his dark dystopian tale Bird Box. So I was chomping at the bit to explore his work further. Not generally a fan of westerns (for no particular reason) I was uncertain of my initial encounter, but in the end, I was smitten.

The skinny..

Carol Evers suffers from an extremely unconventional affliction. She periodically falls into comas indiscernible from death. These episodes last for days, and unfortunately, the only two people who are aware of this condition are a money-grubbing husband and a long lost love. When Carol falls into her next coma and her husband plots to have her buried alive, that long-lost love and infamous outlaw Moxie hits the trail to save her from an untimely death. Unknowingly to both, Carol is aware of the events occurring around her and fighting her own battle to stay alive.

The monster, Carol thought, looks different when nobody’s watching.” 

What I appreciated..

  • A western that feels unlike any western I have ever encountered.
  • An innovative plot that stands beautifully on its own.
  • An eccentric ensemble of characters that kept the narrative fresh and engaging. The outlaws are truly the stars here.
  • A clever blend of fantasy, magical realism, and horror that feels balanced.
  • The open setting of the trail and each passing town feel well developed and complete. They offer a nice contrast to Carol’s isolated, internal entrapment.
  • Malerman’s bizarre and defining writing style keeps the reader on their toes.

“Passing the dark, low fields just south of Harrows, Smoke saw a scarecrow that reminded him, in shape, of his mother. Inspired by it, he imagined her burning. He imagined the dresses from her closet … the curls in her blond hair … the rims of her glasses … all of it and everything blistering, bending, burning.”

Challenges some may encounter..

  • Carol lacks presence or the ability to command it at times as a protagonist due to her condition.
  • Initially, the narrative can feel slightly muddled.
  • The ending may feel lackluster in comparison to the preceding events.

Unbury Carol will find a special home among those who can appreciate the peculiar and unexpected. Malerman delivers the tried and true tale of good vs evil in an anything but traditional style. The end result is a bizarre read that can easily be classified as pure entertainment.

tea cup

 

Pair this one with a nice cinnamon chai because it has a kick to it.

Grab a Copy: Amazon.com Book Depository

*Disclosure: I use affiliate links and may earn a small commission for purchases made through them. Click here for details.

Happy Reading,

Danielle ❤

Connect With Me: FacebookTwitterTumblr and Instagram