Vampire Legion (Night School 2) – Alex Dire

*I received a free ARC of this book.  The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

Blurb:  A secret plan. A new breed of vampire. A war rekindled.

Norman Bernard’s only desire is to settle into his new job as Night School principal. However, his arch enemy, Skeete, has other plans. Fresh off her defeat at Norman ‘s hands, she explodes back onto the scene. Only now she leads an army of enhanced vampires bent on murdering and harvesting mankind.

Norman is enlisted by a mysterious group to fight the new threat. And this time his students have a few new tricks of their own.

Desperate to protect the young charges, the only family he’s ever known, can Norman and his ragtag group of friends defeat this new terror or will they be crushed under their march to world destruction?

Similar to the first book in the series (review here), the first thing to strike the reader here is the vast quanity of gore and violence.  In fact, more so than in the first book, because, being a sequel, the stakes are necessarily higher, so the villains (and to a much lesser extent, the heroes) are tougher.  Exponentially tougher.  To the point of invulnerability.  Almost.

This means that the second thing to stand out is that the heroes are repeatedly, continually outclassed and permanently at a disadvantage.  They therefore spend the majority of the book desperately firefighting against insurmountable odds, or running and hiding.

Beneath all the action and blood spatter however, there is a deeper story about the personal growth of Norman Bernard, the main character, and about the pitfalls of integration into a different culture if it means losing your own.  Norman’s inability to let go of responsibility to his students and his enforced eventual acceptance of them as powerful in their own right and capable of independent agency are important to his character arc and add a more emotional dimension to the horror-plot.

I also particularly enjoyed the mustering of allies and resources in this installment, from werewolves and Worms, to other vampires and humans.  There is a lot of potential in the end set-up for the plot to go in almost any direction now that the supernatural secret has been exposed to the wider world.

I noted a few typos, and one of the Nymph characters bobbed in and out of the plot inconsistently, but these were not glaring, and mine was an advance copy so I assume the final draft will have eliminated these issues.

Fans of gory horror, long odds and lots of action will love this series!

Tyreese and Darius charged, berserk, their eyes hot with fury.  Their assailant raced at them, fast and cool, her eyes steady as ice.  The instant before impact, the woman dropped to the ground and slid forward on her back, grabbing a leg of each as she skidded between them.  Their quick charge made them hit the ground, face first, with terrible momentum.  Bones in their faces cracked, sending sickening tones of mutated biology echoing through the alley.

– Alex Dire, Vampire Legion

Check out my review of Vampire Awakening (Night School 1).

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


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