Let me start by saying – I do not believe in actual vampires, as in ‘your-neighbor-is-a-vampire’ or ‘go-out-and-date’ a vampire. I love to read about them and write about them because they are interesting, and as Ms. Laurence agrees, mysterious, talented and sexy. But to me, they are fictional and only become real in my head/imagination/dreams. So this book wouldn’t necessarily be something I would run out and purchase. I reviewed it because I reviewed a similar book written from a male perspective, and I thought it’d be an interesting comparison (the other book was a gift).
You may recall my review of The Vampire Seduction Handbook (if not, click on the link). Well this book, How to Catch and Keep a Vampire: a Step by Step Guide to Loving the Bad and the Beautiful, may very well be the yin to that book’s yang.
A couple things to note: 1) It is written by a female unlike the very male perspective in The Vampire Seduction Handbook. 2) It covers a lot of the same stuff – dating, biting, blood-drinking, romance, sex, conversion, etc. 3) It covers new stuff like good versus bad versus evil vampires. 4) The format is similar – a how-to guide with little stories and anecdotes dispersed throughout. 5) How to Catch and Keep a Vampire definitely takes itself more seriously than The Vampire Seduction Handbook.
So on to my review. I read this book in about an hour and a half, and as always, first the good things. I really enjoyed the “Case Study” stories. I did get quite engrossed in them and wanted more. But I expect that this has to do with me personally, as I indicated above, I’m more of a fictional believer in vampires. Like the VSH, I did find myself skipping over the parts that weren’t as interesting to get to the parts that were. The book was easy to read and the pace flowed fairly well. There were many areas that were clever and witty, where I had an internal laugh at certain similarities with things I’ve thought myself. I liked the fact that the author kept me hooked with the story of the evil vampire, Dr. Steven Grey at key points throughout the book – I wanted to find out what happened (which you do, on the next to the last page).
I didn’t get the feeling that this book was written from a tongue-in-cheek perspective. So my brain couldn’t really enjoy it very much because I was unable to connect with the apparent “seriousness” of its how-to information. While the VSH was funny – excerpt from my review: “The Vampire Seduction Handbook is a fun, interesting read that doesn’t take itself too seriously (and neither should any readers looking for non-fiction – it clearly says “humor” on the back jacket, so step back, breathe, and run a sanity check before you run out and do something clearly irrational like trying to entrap a vampire lover),” How to Catch and Keep a Vampire felt more like an actual guide.
Ok, so now I feel like I need to explain myself – I love the idea of vampires, their sexy mystery, the danger, etc., etc. If I had to explain it more succinctly, it would be like vampire “beer-goggles” – you know where it’s all in the moment and you’re lost and it’s hot, terrifying, amazing? Well, when I read a how-to guide that tricks my brain into thinking “practical application” of something that clearly isn’t real, well then the beer goggles come off, and it’s become a “coyote-ugly” morning. Ok, maybe not too succinct, but suffice it to say that it’s likely I just want to stay in my fantasy-world – the fictional and glorious world of books and movies where anything is possible – for the very reason that it’s called Urban Fantasy, because it’s not real. Strip something of its mystery and it tends to lose its magnetism. In my world, not everything has to be real, to be real, if that makes any sense.
So overall, it was an interesting read, more so if you’re actually after a practical “how-to” guide. If you want to fish, you buy a fishing guide. If you want to catch a vampire, you get this one. Like I said, I quite liked the little stories of the author’s “interaction” with vampires and would probably enjoy reading more on those subjects, if not to satisfy my very real desire for escapism as opposed to the realist, non-believer in me that says – if vampires were real, I’d probably be one. I would rate How to Catch and Keep a Vampire 4 out of 5 stars just for sheer fun.