Monday, July 2, 2012
Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan
YA Paranormal Humor
Source: Received an ARC through Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review.
I love both of these author's web presences and, while I read vampire and other paranormal stories, I have always considered myself Team Human. That was my point of entry-seeing a human female protagonist who desperately wants to prevent her friend from falling madly in love with a vampire and turning to be with him forever while also sustaining a high level of humor toward the stereotypes of vampire literature. However this book ended up taking some twists that I did not anticipate based on the original plot summary.
While very humorous (well if you like Mel's sense of humor, which I did), I had anticipated some more pointed jabs at some of the better-known new vampire stories and their often poor characterization, writing, plots, etc. That would probably have taken this into more of a parody and I would say it is not. That is not bad; it is just different from my understanding of what the book entailed.
The plot is set at some point in the future when vampires have been revealed and live near to humans although not generally fully integrated into human society, preferring their own places. Then one day vampire Francis shows up at Mel's high school and her best friend Cathy begins to fall for him, going so far as pronouncing her desire to become a vampire to be with him forever. Mel is naturally horrified and does her best to break up their connection. Meanwhile she is also investigating on behalf of another friend whose happy home life was disrupted when her father abandoned them for a vampire love but there are inconsistencies to this story. One last element of disruption is the human raised by vampires who Mel meets; despite his bizarre upbringing,
I think one of the reasons I have been Team Human (beyond the fact that vampires and other paranormal creatures are abominations) is something I hadn't been able to put into words but which is clearly on display here: vampires are actually incapable of laughing (as well as showing most other emotions). I love to laugh, just like Mel does and I really have trouble fathoming giving up laughter as well as all that other stuff (even the bad stuff). Sure, I could "live" forever but what kind of life is it? So, yeah my allegiances are fully Team Human.
Overall: Humorous entry into the paranormal field that is sure to have many fans. I wouldn't say that it has that extra special something that makes a book stand out but it's a good read and a pleasant way to spend some time.
Cover: Props for not whitewashing Mel but if that is supposed to be Cathy and Francis, I just pictured them differently. And the positions are pretty awkward-they don't even look like they were taken at the same time but each separately and then combined into this cover. That may have been the point but I'd prefer a great cover to mockery of bad covers.