Friday, January 14, 2011

Review of Slayed by Amanda Marrone

The Van Helsing family has been hunting vampires for over one hundred years, but sixteen-year-old Daphne wishes her parents would take up an occupation that doesn’t involve decapitating vamps for cash. All Daphne wants is to settle down in one place, attend an actual school, and finally find a BFF to go to the mall with. Instead, Daphne has resigned herself to a life of fast food, cheap motels and buying garlic in bulk.
But when the Van Helsings are called to a coastal town in Maine, Daphne’s world is turned upside down. Not only do the Van Helsings find themselves hunting a terrifying new kind of vampire (one without fangs but with a taste for kindergarten cuisine), Daphne meets her first potential BF! The hitch? Her new crush is none other than Tyler Harker, AKA, the son of the rival slayer family.
What's a teen vampire slayer to do?
I essentially picked up Slayed largely because it’s set in Maine, but also because I thought the fact that it’s about a vampire slayer interesting. It’s a short book and I started off thinking that it was a cheesy but fun paranormal novel. Unfortunately, by the end of the novel I was rolling my eyes at the extreme lack of development.

Daphne has a unique problem of not really having a true home because she’s constantly been on the move with her slayer parents, and she craves a normal teenage life. I thought that this was an interesting situation to have a teenage character in, however, it also seemed like one of her biggest passions was being a normal teenager. I can understand that feeling, but she was so self-centered in her focus on this one goal that her emotions never really felt genuine to me.

When you toss in a character who’s only somewhat likable with poor writing, things go from meh to worse. The main plot was okay, but nothing particularly special. The character relationships all moved too quickly to come across as realistic, and were often kind of cheesy for me. However, my least favorite part of Slayed was the romance Daphne and Tyler, because it felt terribly cliched and mushy. Note that I call a romance “mushy” when the characters have just met but are already proclaiming their undying love. A good romance keeps you rooting in the air and crying and fist pumping as you watch what happens throughout the characters, and that isn’t what this did for me.

Honestly, I’m not entirely sure who I would recommend Slayed to. A ten or twelve year old me would have been more forgiving of the cheesiness, but this book has a bit too much crass content for me to push it on a middle grade audience. Perhaps if you just can’t get enough vampires and want a light read this is the book for you, but otherwise I’d pass it by.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Star Book Tours.

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