Thursday, 4 July 2013

Review: The Vampire Underground by Brian Rowe

Published by: Brian Rowe
Release date:
3rd April 2013
Grisly High #1
I got it from:
Goodreads summary:

16-year-old Brin Skar hates everything to do with the supernatural, so the obsessive film geek isn't happy when she discovers that her junior year Film class at Grisly High is devoted to the horror genre. She's even more disconcerted when she learns that six groups in the class will be writing and directing their very own horror movies.

Brin and five classmates travel to Bodie Ghost Town in California to shoot their creepy film, but they soon find themselves fighting a real terrifying threat when a clan of mean, bloodthirsty vampires emerge from beneath the surface and start attacking the group. The teens, headed by Brin and the egotistical director Anaya Frost, have no help from the outside and become outnumbered by the vampires a hundred to one.

But when Brin meets Paul, a helpful and smoldering vampire outcast who's had enough of his shameful life, she realizes he might be the only key to her survival.

My review:
A lot of the time this book feels like an antidote to Twilight. The film-buff kids even ridicule poor Bella and Edward's story, favouring instead classics such as Nosferatu. Little do they realise they're going to end up in their own vampire horror film. 

Much of the book reads like a teen horror film. It would, indeed, make a great film. A bunch of kids go to an abandoned ghost town (down a road that's been closed, no less) to make a short movie for their film class, and get a whole lot more horror than they bargained for. In between there's the kooky tale of two best friends, and a fledgling romance that's not too far away from the Twilight the kids have such derision for. What's not to love?

Brin is your bog-standard protagonist, a girl who isn't the most popular, but she's pretty, smart and has her best boy friend Ash to rely on. Ash has two gay dads, but is most definitely into girls. Not Brin though - the pair have known each other forever and are more like brother and sister. They get split up in film class, assigned to different groups in the film-making project. Brin has to put up with poster-boy Chase, girly Lavender, and Anaya, a big, fat bitch (not my words). Her saving grace is Dylan, one person she can actually stand to be around. 

Anaya goes a little loco with the film project, taking over and giving it way more importance than it warrants. To the point of forcing her group to drive through thick snow and ice to a spooky ghost town to make the film. There's a lot of arguing and bickering, and then the proverbial hits the fan. 

Rowe's vampires are suitably scary. They are monsters who act in hunger, without remorse. They have eyes that cast a terrifying red glow, and they can make the ground open up and swallow you. At this point the book gets scary in the style of the best horror films. There's a freaky underground lair, there's vampires dressed as clowns (even more freaky!), there's blood, gore and death.

The book ends with the culmination of a very big, unwanted and horrifying adventure for Brin, but it's clear that there's so much more to come. Bring on book two!

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