Night School Book 1: Vampire Awakening – Alex Dire

*I received a free ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.*

 

Blurb:  Norman Bernard thinks the vampire war is over. He’s wrong.

Norman has one wish: to live a quiet life teaching Shakespeare to his night school students. But his world is shattered when vampires, long thought destroyed start showing up in his classroom. When his old arch enemy causes a bloodbath in his school, Norman flees to the underside of the city to hide and protect a group of his students. Underground, Norman discovers an invisible world of vampire survivors, most of whom want to kill him. Can Norman piece together a resistance and save his students, or will they all become the final victims of a revived vampire war? 

 

This is a fast-paced, gory, paranormal action-horror.  Generally the yucky-injury factor of a novel is constrained by the level of damage a hero can take and still remain in the game, but in this case we have an all-out war in which both sides are self-repairing vampires, so the grossness is gleefully unrestricted.

Expect swathes of entrails, gouged eyeballs, limbs ripped off with bare hands and used to beat their owner to bloody mush, heads tossed around like squelchy basketballs, and more.  It’s not just the injury count that runs high here either.  Death is, er, less than final, and some characters pop back up with the almost-comic regularity of a Wes Craven villain.

In stark contrast to the splatter-fest, the emotional connections between the characters are authentic and touching, which brings a higher stake (haha) to proceedings than the heal-rate would normally allow.  There is a touch of Dangerous Minds in the idea of street kids, written off by society, but saved by a teacher who cares.  In the context of this book, this works on another level, as we see that vampires can also be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ but even the good ones are sidelined into the sewers due to their reputation.  Also, whilst the author makes it clear that these children have hard lives, he doesn’t get bogged down in the details of each character’s backstory, but keeps the information relevant to current action.

Overall that is exactly what you are getting here:  action-horror movie immediacy throughout, with an urban-paranormal twist.  If a high gore ratio is your thing, then this is exactly what you’re looking for.

Before Richie could move, a hiss exploded from the wounded thug’s mouth and his fangs shot out.  Norman dropped to the ground and plunged the stake into his chest.  The inhuman scream of a dying vampire roared from his mouth as he expired.

– Alex Dire, Night School Book 1: Vampire Awakening

You can find more from Alex Dire at his website, or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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