March 18, 2018

Matthew S. Cox: "A Nighttime of Forever"

Title: A Nighttime of Forever [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: Vampire Innocent (1st of ?? books)
Author: Matthew S. Cox [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Afterlife, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy
Year: 2017
Age: 16+ [NA]
Stars: 3.5/5
Pros: Imbues the classic vampire trope with humour and family values - plus a new spin.
Cons: Some reactions to the lead's being vamped are a bit sketchy/smoothed. Death doesn't seem like a big deal.
WARNING! Gore (of course), violence, and talk of (sometimes painful) sex.
Will appeal to: Those who like a sassy but family-focused heroine caught between two worlds.

Blurb: Sarah Wright woke up a few times after parties in strange places - but the morgue’s a first. At eighteen, she’s eager for a taste of independence, moving out of state to attend college. However, soon after escaping the body cooler, she makes two startling realizations: vampires are real, and she is one. A disinterested sire, distraught friends, nosy Men in Black, and awestruck younger siblings complicate her adjustment to the new normal of being an immortal still subject to her parents’ rules. Without a copy of Fangs for Dummies, Sarah’s left scrambling for answers when one such new enemy attacks her siblings and friends. If she can’t figure out how to vampire, her attempt to spare her family the grief of losing her may wind up killing them. (Amazon excerpt)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I was offered a review copy by the author, having previously reviewed another one of his books and a couple of collections where two of his short stories were featured. This didn't affect my opinion about this novel.
 
HOMELY VAMP

Typically, vampires are not my thing. But I do enjoy a good vampire story from time to time, if there's more to it than mating, fighting, biting necks and stalking in the night. Also, I was curious about this story where an 18 y.o. girl with a normal, loving family and a life just about to start has to adjust to being undead and to give up on college and independence. It's not every day that you have the chance to meet a family vamp, who actually gets along with her parents, dotes on her siblings, and refuses to let go of her friends. Cox puts a new spin on vampires, in that there are a few types of them, and Sarah is an Innocent - one of those rare immortals who still cling to their humanity. Make no mistakes - she's quite powerful, and doesn't hold back when it's time to fight, though she still hasn't figured out what she can do and how. Watching her walk the fine line between growing into her new abilities (which come at a few costs) and adjusting to her new normal (with her family and friends in tow) is great fun. [...]

CALLING ALL GIRLS

The author does a good job in representing different facets of the female kind - a bi character included (though she seems to be a lot more into women). I particularly liked Sarah's little sisters, which comes as no surprise, since Cox has proved himself able to write realistic and engaging kids more than once. Also, Sarah's inner monologue often addresses patriarchy, and the book offers us an insight (albeit brief) into an abusive relationship. Sarah's voice and her exchanges with family and friends sound believable, and more often than not border on the funny side. Her maker is obviously meant to add to the humour, but I found him to be a little too artificial and derivative for my tastes - like a Spike-from-Buffy somehow-amplified echo (see: brit slang) but minus the evil streak. Also, there are at least a couple of occasions when he touches Sarah a little too intimately for my liking. One of those times, he "playfully" pats her on the butt - and even if he's her sire, I'd much rather she didn't take it so much in stride.

BREAK THE SKIN

My main problem with this book is, I would have liked for it to go deeper. I get that it's meant to be a humourous look at a novice vampire's unlife, and as such, it works. But for instance, both Sarah's family and friends seem more unfazed about her vamping than I think they would have a right to be. I would have expected her parents, at least, to make a great deal out of it - though I'll admit it's sweet that they remain supportive and try to adjust to the situation the best they can. Still, their daughter's getting vamped should have made a huger dent in their aplomb, if you know what I mean. Then again, death in general - and the very act of killing - doesn't seem like a big deal in the story; and though I can understand why, I still would have liked for it to have more impact. Also, there's this "small" detail...Sarah calls one of her friends "spaz" at one point, which is officially regarded as "not okay" nowadays, even when it's meant in jest (as it is the case here)*. Either than that, A Nighttime of Forever offers a somehow fresh twist on the old vampire trope, and a mix of fun, feelings and action/violence that fanged-creature zealots (and even less vamp-devoted readers) will happily sink their own teeth into 😉.

* Update: the author said he had not realised that the once accepted term "spaz" bears a different weight nowadays, and he changed it with "basket case". I've never come across this one in blacklists, so I suppose it has less of an impact, but you tell me...English is not my mother tongue, after all 😉.

For my "A Beginner's Guide to Fangs" review (second installment in the series) click here.
For my review of Matthew S. Cox's book "Nine Candles of Deepest Black" (YA) click here.
For more Afterlife books click here.

10 comments:

  1. Oh but this one sounds so good! Since this is the first of a series, I daresay the vampire aspects would be explored further down the line, so this sounds good enough- and yay for the family values incorporated! I'm always a sucker for those!

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    1. Yep! Definitely a different kind of read, and the family holds a huge weight. The little siblings are so well done, too.

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  2. I can see why you would want it to dig a little deeper and not be so nonchalant about being dead but it still sounds like a fun read if you're looking for something a little lighter.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. The author says he was going for humour as the overall tone, and in that respect, he succeeded!

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  3. Sounds like an interesting take on vampire stories! The family angle isn't often explored. (I do like Spike, but that's a hard character to live up to...)

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    Replies
    1. I think this could be your thing...😉 Plus, the second installment will be out next month, and I heard there's some juicy stuff coming!

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    2. I do like monster stories/urban fantasy, in general. xD Are you planning to continue the series?

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  4. A "family vamp"? Hahaha! That made me laugh-out-loud. It sounds like a really interesting take on vampirism. It's been awhile since I've read a book with vampires, but I see you didn't LOVE this one. Hmm. I can totally see how/why you'd want a little more depth on those issues, because then they would have felt more realistic. It would have added more conflict and resolution.

    Lovely review! I hadn't heard of this one.

    Do You Dog-ear?

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    Replies
    1. It's a self-pubbed novel, though the author usually works under a publisher's umbrella - but he's experimenting a bit with this series. And maybe you might like it more than me, because in a way, now that I think of it, this one kind of sounds like the novelisation of a comic, and you love those 😉.

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