Most teenagers can’t wait to quit school, fly the nest and start fending for themselves. And rightly so – starting to make your own way in the world is the last giant leap to adulthood. Things don’t always go as planned though. Working for a living can involve long hours, poor conditions and low pay. It can take something of the shine off the freedom gained.
No matter how hard you try, however, you’d be hard pushed to end up in a worse situation than Dave, who has found himself in a job worse than death – the night shift in a 24-hour convenience store. To make matters worse, on getting the job he was bitten by the store’s owner, a vampire, who wasn’t just looking for a wage slave but a vampire underling to do his bidding.
With nothing to do in the day but hide from the sun and watch soap operas, Dave resigns himself to a nocturnal existence serving the night-dwelling freaks of suburban Los Angeles. But, having previously been a vegetarian, there’s one side of vampire life that he won’t succumb to – murdering humans for their blood. Instead, his boss gets him a ready supply of out-of-date plasma from a local (vampire owned) blood bank.
Apart from the rut he’s stuck in, everything seems to be chugging along for Dave, until Rosa steps into his shop one night. A beautiful goth with a surprisingly cheery manner, Dave falls head-over-heels for her. Trouble is, she’s brought along her deeply irritating goth boyfriend, who dresses like a vampire stereotype and sends Dave round the twist.
Alba and Soria have created a fun twenty-something romance with a vampire twist. It’s a character-driven piece, with more unrequited love than vampire blood lust, though it’s not afraid of spilling a bit of blood where the plot demands it. It also manages to blend its genres without collapsing into cliché or becoming over-trite. Pleece handles the art duties with aplomb, keeping the locations authentic, the characters charming and the pace lively.
The story isn’t as sedentary as it might sound, with the life situations rolling through the book and plenty of obstacles to love being thrown between Dave and Rosa. There’s probably no point picking it up if the thought of an element of innocent romance turns your stomach, and hardcore horror fans will also be disappointed – the vampire aspect is almost incidental, at least until the latter half of the book, and is treated in an almost matter-of-fact manner by the authors. For the rest of us it’s a fun genre mash-up of a story, taking a new twist on vampires and romance that’s very well executed.
Other titles by Jessica Abel: