Thursday, April 8, 2010

Review of "Vampire Taxonomy" by Meredith Woerner

I'd had this book for ages, and yes, I've just recently finished it. I'll get into why shortly...

Disclaimer: I received this book via a contest on Vampire Wire. I was not given this book, nor any monetary compensation in exchange for a review.

From the back of the book: " Whether you accept it or not, the world is overrun with vampires - behind you in the line at the store, "living" in the house next door, walking their undead dogs. Not content to live quietly in the shadows, they appear blatantly in every medium from television and movies to books and comics. With so many different species running amok, it's hard to know whether the vamp you meet will want to marry you or have you for dinner. With this guide, however, you can easily identify which type of bloodsucker you're dealing with and how best to approach (or avoid) it by understanding:
-Physical attributes: Recognize each type of immortal with fang diagrams, dissections of the vampire anatomy, and other helpful classification tools.
-Habitat: Does it venture out in the day (and look awfully sparkly when it does) or board up the windows in mysterious manor hours?
-Demeanor: Is it a brooding loner waging a never-ending struggle against the temptation of human blood, or a carefree creature with a biting wit who views the world as its own personal blood buffet?
-Weakness: Crosses, sunlight, cutting off heads - What will do the job?
-Cultural Assimilation: Prime yourself with the appropriate response to any situation you may find yourself in with someone "Long in the tooth."
Read this book and when the vampires come calling, be prepared with either your heart on your sleeve or a stake in your hand. "

I'll start by saying I love the description on the back of the book, it sounds like it'd be a great, funny read, right? Well... If there is wit in this book, it's so dry it isn't funny. I honestly felt like I was reading a textbook from highschool, written by someone who didn't really like vampires. I had some issues with this book, which is probably why it took me so long to finish. I would read a little, get bored or just not get into it, set it aside, and couldn't bring myself to come back to it for a while after. And frankly, it wasn't until just now that I noticed the cover was actually fangs with dripping blood.

My second issue, and the biggest reason I didn't like this book, is that she broke the vampires down into different races. For example, if you're turned by a villainous vampire, you will be a villainous vampire, no ifs, ands, or buts. At least, that's why I got out of reading this book. There were several types of vampires, but basically there are Romantic vampires (hemophage romanorum), Villainous vampires (hemophage sceleratus), and Tragic vampires (hemophage tragicus). I think the idea of giving them a scienfitic latin name was an interesting one, but breaking them into groups like that just goes against some of the things I believe in. I mean.. when you get turned into a vampire, it shouldn't change your basic sense of self. If you're a good person in life, why would you suddenly become a bad person in your un-life, just because some not-so-nice guy turned you?

However, there were some good things about the book - the pop culture vampire references were excellent. I mean, for example, it mentions Lost Boys, Tales from the Crypt, Dracula 2000, Twilight, Blade, Dresden Files, etc. A broad range of vampire lore is mentioned, from old myths, to modern day books, movies, and more. There was even a few references I didn't know about, which meant they had to be added to my "Stuff to watch/read" list.

I also enjoyed the illustrations and diagrams. Yes, it made it seem even more textbook-y, but it was great to have a picture to go along with some of the things the author explained, especially since there was a time or two I had no clue what she meant. I enjoyed seeing the different types of fangs and physical attributes, most of them with a footnote explaining where these were from - be it vampire lore, or more modern movies and books.

I have reviewed a similar book, "How to Catch and Keep a Vampire" by Diana Laurence, and I suppose it didn't help that I kept comparing "Vampire Taxonomy" to the earlier book. But all in all, it felt too dry, and didn't keep my attention. So I'm going to give "Vampire Taxonomy" a TWO out of FIVE. I just wasn't feeling it. I enjoy reading about vampires because they always make things exciting, this had to be one of the first instances I was bored by them.

Happy Reading!
~!~ Morning Glow

1 comment:

Nitima Sood said...

Liked your blog. Someday I hope to write a book tooo...where the royalties will pay for the copies I give away.