Friday, February 26, 2010

Betrayal Most Foul

I neglected to mention in my mini-review of The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Eighth Grade Bites, by Heather Brewer, that Vlad is being hunted. He's a vampire. Of course he's being hunted. Be that as it may, he lives (remains undead?) to fight, avoid bullies, and continue having a crush on a girl.

In Ninth Grade Slays, Vladimir's uncle teaches him the secret vampire code for translating vampire writing. He also encourages Vlad to develop his mind-reading and mind-control skills. Over the winter break, Vlad's uncle takes him to Siberia for more training with the boisterous Russian vampire, Vikas. Before they leave for their trip, they learn a vampire slayer has been sent to Vlad's little town of Bathory in order to kill him. There are no encounters with the slayer before the Siberia trip, and Vlad is feeling pretty safe. After returning home, he is attacked by another vampire for no apparent reason. He survives, only to suffer a crushing betrayal by one he considered a friend.

The first book definitely had the feeling of a set-up for the series. Ninth Grade Slays doesn't feel so intermediate. There is forward motion, so fast sometimes that the plot nearly trips over itself. There were a couple of instances in which it seemed as though chapters or scenes had been shifted out of place, and these brought me to a grinding halt. Not good for an action-filled novel. On the other hand, I stayed up late and got up early to finish it!

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