There are spoilers in this review, but I recommend you read it anyway so you don’t make the mistake I made and waste your time reading the book!
I was looking for some free e–books on the Amazon Kindle shop last night, and I found To Love a Vampire, the first book in the Dark Vampire Knight series by Anna–Rose Vittoria. Now I could tell it was likely to be some daft trashy story, but I decided to look into it anyway. Let’s just say it really deserves the overall 2–star average it has…
The book claims to be about your “average Goth girl”, yet our so–called average Goth, Emily Payne, goes on to tell us about all the different kinds of Goths there are – so what makes her our average Goth girl? Perhaps it’s her “Scene hair”, which is what she uses to describe it pretty much EVERY time she mentions her hair, yet she doesn’t even explain what Scene hair is. Apparently it’s something we’re all meant to know. As well as not shutting up about the mystery “Scene hair”, the author also succeeds in over using description. I know, I didn’t think it was possible either, but if I read one more mention of Emily’s “Nightmare Before Christmas bedspread/alarm clock/Edward Scissorhands lamp/Emily the Strange jacket with the red cat ears on the hood”, then I will snap. Seriously, you are allowed to say “I checked the time on my alarm clock”; you don’t have to tell us the design every single time you mention it.
My very first issue came in only the first two sentences of the book: “The downtown city bus was taking me to go live with my dad. I had to admit, though, I was really excited.” Okay, considering she’s never at all given any reason to not be excited about living with her dad, there is no reason for that sentence to be there. Also, in the first sentence, surely it should be “[…] taking me to go and live with my dad”? Maybe that’s just my idea of the correct language, but I’m sure Vittoria knows best. That said, there are some truly atrocious errors littered throughout the book, including using ‘to’ instead of ‘too’, or ‘your’ instead of ‘you’re’ and vice versa. Surely, one of the most important parts of publishing a book is ensuring that you’re using the correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation? I mean, writing a good book is also pretty important too, another minor thing the author managed to overlook here. And whilst the so–called plot is nothing short of awful, I just can’t find words to describe how appalling the main character, in the form of your average Goth girl Emily Payne, is.
So, only a few chapters into the book, Emily is going to the ‘Coffin Club’ with her dad, who’s playing there with his band, and somehow manages to end up locked out in the car–park. The bouncer doesn’t believe she’s Blayke Payne’s daughter, which is fair enough, but then a mysterious guy comes out from the shadows to say that Emily is his date and he should let her in. Again, that’s not too obscure as I’ve read scenes like that in books before. But when you start making out with someone SIX pages after you’ve met them, I’m afraid that is beyond ridiculous. You know nothing about him, other than he’s called Jagger Maxwell (what kind of name is Jagger anyway?!), yet you’re in the middle of letting him take off your freaking dress?! Excuse me for not thinking that’s very realistic. When you finally have the sense to stop, you take him inside to meet your dad, where Jagger manages to convince your dad to let him date you, and you don’t object because you’re too busy thinking about how hot he is to pay any attention?! That’s just… it doesn’t happen, okay?
Despite constantly telling Jagger she just wants to be friends, that doesn’t stop her getting into his coffin (no, I’m not joking. He drives a hearse too) with him and then nearly having sex with him before panicking because she could get pregnant. After all, that’s what every girl does with the guy they just want to be friends with – or maybe this is just because she’s your average Goth girl? Speaking of, I get that the novel is about a Goth, and I get that she’s into darker stuff and has friends and a dad who are too, but seriously you don’t need to describe them so much or make them sound so stereotypical. Literally, pretty much every person she describes has “blood–red tipped hair” or something like that; dip–dying is not something done exclusively by Goths, so stop making it sound like it is. And as for Jagger driving round in a hearse, how ridiculous is that?! Okay, the guy’s a vampire (if you hadn’t already guessed) but again with the stereotyping – not every vampire is going to drive a hearse or sleep in a coffin.
And can I give you another example of how stupid Emily is? She has a dream not long after meeting Jagger where he takes her out, then reveals to her he’s a vampire. Okay, that’s a bit creepy so I can see why she would be a bit wary “because it felt so real!” – yet she’s not wary, she’s just concerned that she put on the outfit she wore in the dream, to go out on a date with him because he had to tell her something important. But if that’s not ringing any alarm bells, then don’t worry – who believes in vampires anyway? However, when the guy who drives a hearse, sleeps in a real coffin, and you dreamt was a vampire tells you he is originally from ROMANIA, that’s when you should start to think “Oh, maybe he could actually be a vampire…”. Emily cites Dracula as her favourite book; did she pick up nothing from it? Evidently not, as she just carries on as if nothing had happened. Even when, in the last few pages, Jagger takes her on a date to the cemetery (most clichéd vampire ever, I swear) and starts eating RAW steak, she still doesn’t take the hint, instead she just shouts at him because he’ll make himself sick. Emily, I really think that’s the least of your worries.
The author makes things worse by trying to add in a few jokes, and believe me when I say, they’re abysmal. For instance, when the pair reach the cemetery, Emily remarks on how tall the fence was, to which Jagger replied “‘Not really. Well, to you probably’” (Emily is quite short, a fact she likes to remind us of almost as many times as she tells us about her Scene hair). Emily’s own response to that is “‘Excuse me? Did you just call me fat’?”. That line just had me so confused. It was so infused with stupidity that I didn’t even realise it was followed by “I joked”; there is no way in hell that’s funny under any circumstance. Jokes are meant to make sense in the context – that didn’t. Jokes are meant to be funny – that most certainly wasn’t.
I can, however, compliment the author on her ending, where Jagger reveals his fangs. It’s quite a nice cliff–hanger, if a little on the predictable side, but it would have been much more effective if the book was actually well – written.
I’m not even going to bother reading the sequel because this made me despair enough. Vittoria, here’s some advice: stick to your day job. And if you want writing to be your day job… I suggest you find another one.