Thursday, May 3, 2012

What's in a Vamp?

The other day I was tolling the Amazon fantastic and happened on a couple books that looked interesting. Both books featured vampires. I love a good vamp. Heck, I love a bad one. But the thing that really caught me on both books wasn't the cover, the blurb or even the first chapter. Nope. It was the reviews.

Why would I care about the reviews? Giggle. The reasons are many, actually. Reviews give insight into readers' thoughts while reading the book. They let us know what worked or didn't work on the book. I appreciate reviews. Besides, it feels good as a writer to know someone is not only reading what I wrote, but appreciating it.

I also look at them for what the reader wasn't impressed by. In the case of both books, it was the vampire. So now to my question, what's in a vamp? The one reviewer pointed out the the vamp didn't act like a vampire. Upon first read of the review and that particular comment, I thought, hmm you actually KNOW what a vamp should act like? The reason I said that was my last visit to an indie book store. There were at least five different subcategories of paranormal books. Shifters, faeries, fairies, vampires and witches. Then there are the zombies. I also had a friend who writes paranormal, vampires in particular. From what I've gleaned from not only her, but the store and the books I've read that are paranormal, the rules are your own as long as you stick to them and keep things constant.

That's where the reviewer had the issue. The vampire wasn't acting like a usual vampire. Now hmm. Is that fair? I'm not sure. If the author stuck to the constructs of the book's world, then the whole thing should be taken and reviewed on the story as a whole. Not the accepted practices of a vampire/zombie/witch/etc. Here's the thing. Zombies don't fall in love. Right? The standard for a zombie is an undead indivudual who wants to eat brains. Love doesn't factor into it. And yet, zombies are accepted within the paranormal community as being capable of romance. Back to my question - what's in a vamp? Just because he can eat/drink/pee, does that mean he's not a vamp? Maybe there was a reason behind what the author gave for him being able to do these things. And if the author stuck to that, then what's the issue?

So I ask, does a vamp have to stick within the standards of what a vamp - or any other paranormal being - should be or is the deviation okay? I'd like to think it is and that the story should be reviewed on the merits of itself. What are your thoughts? Am I off the mark? Losing it? Maybe a little closer than I think? Let me know.

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