Missing True Blood? Books to Read While Waiting
Well we have a nice long wait before the next season of True Blood starts up again. A longer one than usual this time, as they wait for Anna Paquin’s twins to be born before they head back to start shooting again. So until that time, what can a good vampire fan do? I say – read a great book!
I was cruising for some likely options for our True Blood fans this week. Something that has vamps in it that is fun and interesting, but a bit of a departure. I think I may have found a couple of good choices for all of you. It is going to be a long cold winter, so let’s keep the True Blood fires warming with these journey’s into other lands that have vampires in them. They may not be Bill and Erik, but they will do for now.
Although this book came out a few years ago, it still is a great read. The center of the story is Zephyr Hollis (is that a great name or not?) who lives in an alternative New York City in the 1920s. The big difference between our world and Zephyr’s is that in hers, vampires are out in the world. Bu they not only don’t rule the world like they seem to in True Blood, they are a shunned and a vulnerable part of society here. Zephyr is a social worker and nights she sings in local speakeasies, which is where she encounters the vampires.
Her day job as an activist for the downtrodden and poor intersects her night life in the world of illegal booze and hot jazz. She is asked by a mysterious character to help him track down a missing vampire mobster. This is a long long journey from the slow southern ways of True Blood’s Bon Temps. But then the vampires in this story are more a part of the culture of the society Zephyr lives in, then the center of it. I like that it moves the whole outsider mentality of the vampires back into focus. This is part of the original conception of the characters of vampires, as the outsider who is left vulnerable. Johnson handles it well while giving us a great whodunit to enjoy.
You may already read Ivy’s writing under another name, Deborah Raleigh. She had been doing some very well received Regency Historical books for quite a few years when she decided to try her hand at introducing vampires to her historical romances. Thus was born the “Immortal Rogues” Series. But throughout the series it seemed there was another vampire waiting in the wings to be born. The introduction of Gideon Ravel in “My Lord Vampire” was the beginning of the Guardians of Eternity series.
Unlike the vampires who co-exist with humans in True Blood, here they have not lived with humans for a long time. For two hundred years vampires have thrived in a separate kingdom “The Veil” where they can live without needing or being hunted by humans. But now Ravel must return to the land of humans to retrieve an object held by one. The woman who wears the necklace, Simone, doesn’t know she wears an object that could tear asunder both their worlds. It is the Regency era, and Simone is a woman to reckon with, vampire or no. A slow seduction begins that builds to a boil that has all the great historical romance hallmarks. Ravel is arrogant and Simone is just the person to take him down a step or two. That they are madly attracted to each other is a given. That this attraction is dangerous just adds to its allure. Where it all leads is the fun of the story. If this doesn’t have parallels to True Blood’s Sookie and her vampire men, I’ll eat my hat!
And if you like this world, there are eight more after this one. I will warn you that this may be the weakest of the series; she was yet to hit her stride. But it is a good introduction to the world she builds and the main characters. In the same way that True Blood’s root book series grew as Charlotte Harris grew as a writer, so too does Alexander Ivy. Others in the series then spin out minor characters introduced here. Well worth checking out, the series has hit a chord with plenty of vampire fans.
That should hold everyone until next week. As much as I love summer and everything about it, I am ready to get back to my long rainy winters (here in Vancouver – Rain City) where I get to curl up with a good book instead of running around in the hot summer sun. It is time to return to pale-skinned anti-heroes and the women who teach them lessons in humanity.
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