Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Review of Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst

Drink, Slay, Love Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire... fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil... until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops.

Her family thinks she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don't exist), and they're shocked she survived. They're even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The Vampire King of New England has chosen Pearl's family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure them to the King's feast -- as the entrees.

The only problem? Pearl's starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends—especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache—to be slaughtered? Then again, she's definitely dead if she lets down her family. What's a sunlight-loving vamp to do?

(Summary from GoodReads)

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: as soon I saw the synopsis and cover of Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst, I knew I would be reading this book.  After I finished, I had only one regret: not reading it sooner.  Durst took me by surprise with her funny yet insightful novel that had me turning pages late into the night.

While I guessed from the summary that Drink, Slay, Love was supposed to be funny, I was impressed that Durst actually pulled it off.  I read Ice by her a few years earlier, and that was a fairly serious book.  Durst’s humor here stems from the fact that she has a strong knowledge of popular culture and an ability to write snappy, witty dialogue. It’s possible some of the things she alludes to, like Twilight and Snuggies, might not mean anything to teenagers ten years from now, but I think she chose timeless enough references that this isn’t too high of a risk.

As you can see, Durst’s humor was probably my favorite part of the novel, but I think that the paranormal elements were fantastic as well.  Durst clearly spent a lot of her time thinking not only about the paranormal creatures in her novel and their day-today lives, but the worlds around them.  Pearl contemplates the life she used to lead versus living a different kind of lifestyle.  She begins to question whether or not she could continue feasting on humans. 

This element of the story was crucial for a variety of reasons: for one thing, seeing Pearl grow throughout the story gave readers a chance to care about her and her story.  Second of all, and I hinted at this before, Durst actually thinks about how paranormal creatures can and do get by amidst humans.  Given that the high school setting in this novel is intended to be realistic, that particular question shaped Drink, Slay, Love from what could’ve been paranormal fluff into a novel that was actually thought-provoking.  Even though I don’t really need to worry about whether the person on the exercise bike next to me at the gym is vampire who wants me for a snack, this component makes Drink, Slay, Love a more interesting paranormal novel that acknowledges some of the skepticism that readers could hold.

I am so thrilled that Drink, Slay, Love lives up to my expectations. While some people love the brooding romance and angst of books like Twilight, paranormal fans who like a bit of humor need great books as well.  Durst has a title and cover that suggest her book is a thoroughly amusing read, and thankfully the contents live up to that.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.


  1. I'm sad that I saw this one at Half Price Books the other day and didn't buy it. I guess I'll have to go back!



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