by Kirsty Eagar (website)
Released on 08.30.2010
Penguin Books Australia
Nominations: Shortlisted for the 2011 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards - Ethel Turner Prize for Young People's Literature
Source: author, who did not require a review, but I liked it so I gave it one anyway :)
REVIEW: If you look for your vamp lit with accessible supes, the kind who can be redeemed with luuurve and are actually misunderstood creatures, you got the wrong book here. Kirsty Eagar's vamps are made of equal parts evil ambition and diabolical craftiness.
That's not to say there isn't redemption. But it's not where you think it would be in a paranormal tale, nor is it received with everything folded up neat and even. No, this is a tale of choice and consequence, of truth and action, with an actual historical incident as its foundation and group of friends as its heart. There are three plots to the story that are woven together:
- four rouge vampires who made a pact 400 years ago are planning a new, evil event
- a vampire apprentice from a society in Holland races against time to find the four, but for what reasons?
- a once-upon-a-time group of friends, still connected but splintered and strained, comes together to save two of their own
Which is why I was delighted to find the story of 15-year old Jamie and his friends to be not only seamlessly ingrained around the vampiric past and present, but also provided an emotional core not always present in thrillers. Usually, we find the suspense in thrillers to mimic the emotion we would otherwise miss, but here we have a former group of friends whose ties have been skewered through various means, but must make their way around their own past to be a united front in the present. And they are a wonderful, entirely believable group of friends - their affection for each other is authentic, as are the hurt feelings that keep them apart. They each are wonderfully written characters, and we get to know them, their flaws, desires, bravery and fears in great detail. The interaction between them is natural and tangible, whether it's filled with anger or affection. They have a lot to deal with, particularly as a tragedy that really tour them from each other is recent and very much present. And here is something I particularly love about Eagar's writing: she really lets her characters feel the full weight of actions rendered and choices made. There is no easy peace here, no neatly tied up resolution; what's given are the decisions one can live with, and the consequences a person has to live through. This just as easily could have been a book without the supernatural element and been about friends falling apart and coming together again. The tying in of historical fact and mythical evil does not diminish this aspect of the book, but makes Saltwater Vampires a unique, noteworthy and very welcome addition to YA paranormal.
For more on the historical facts behind the wreck of the Batavia, go here.
Also be sure to check out Missie at The Unread Reader's review of Saltwater Vampires, also posted today! She is also giving away a SIGNED copy (my giveaway is for an unsigned copy :) Kirsty Eagar's books are only available for purchase in Australia, so don't miss your chance to enter any of the great giveaways this week!
This is for an unsigned copy of Saltwater Vampires by Kirsty Eagar. Open to U.S. & Canadian mailing addresses.
To enter fill out this form.
Points are as follows:
- 1 point for entering
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- 4 points for posting a Kirsty Eagar Appreciation Week button (see below) -OR- placing 'The Case for Carly' button on your blog (see right side bar).
For more reviews on Saltwater Vampires, please visit its GoodReads page.