Publication Date: October 2011
Publisher: Silverwood Books
Genre: YA/ Paranormal/ Horror
Pages: Paperback, 225pp
(Received for an honest review from Silverwood Books)
Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
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Pete is a 14 year-old vampire who wakes up in a mansion with no idea who he is and no memories. He soon discovers that he's the keeper of a skeleton key, which opens the door leading to another realm: the realm containing vampires, demons and other fearsome creatures. Realising that he needs to keep the key away from the door and the vampires who want the door open, he flees and joins the fight against them making three new friends in the process. When one of them is kidnapped he has no choice but to go back to the house of vampires. Back to the danger he ran away from...
Debut British author, Samantha Rendle infuses new life into an over saturated genre. Rendle's book, House of Vampires is young adult paranormal fiction written by a young author, which is rare in today's publishing world. Rendle takes vampire mythology and adds her own spin, making her novel unique and different. The tone of the book is dark, but not oppressive. The characters are complex and full of surprises. Readers will find themselves transfixed by the vampire world that Rendle as created.
Let's face it! The paranormal genre is full of vampires and werewolves, with other paranormal characters taking a back seat to the top dogs. When readers are trying to decide what paranormal book to read next, it's almost impossible because there are so many out there that focus on the top two paranormal types. That means that each author who decides to write about vampires has to consider what will make their book better, successful, different. It requires something to hook the reader and draw them in, something to make them want to read another vampire novel.
Samantha Rendle's hook for House of Vampires focuses on the unique position that main character, Pete finds himself in. Not only is he a new vampire, who has no idea what he is doing, but he carries the key that will give a ruthless vampire faction the opportunity to destroy the world. He is the key holder, and that makes all the difference in this novel. Rendle's vampires are what readers expect, they are dark, brooding and of course have serious blood lust, but they also have lust for power in this novel. They want that realm opened. They want that control that comes with it. They are relentless and Rendle does a fantastic job of bringing them to life.
Pete is a great YA character. He's young and impressionable. He carries a sense of innocence about him, even after he is turned. He is somewhat clueless as to what he is supposed to do with himself. Pete comes across as a nerd of sorts. He doesn't have many friends, keeps to himself and makes good grades. When he becomes a vampire he finds himself with this whole new persona. He is the key holder. In some strange twist of fate, a kid that nobody ever pays attention to is suddenly and irrevocably in the spotlight. I liked the fact that Rendle made him and ordinary guy, with the same struggles as other kids his age. I think that him very accessible to readers. They understood Pete and wanted him to succeed.
Rendle's other characters including The Hunters, a resistance group of sorts, were well developed and added to overall urgency of the book. Here is a group that is standing up against the powers that be, so to speak. They are determined to thwart the plans to destroy the world. I liked the fact that Rendle gave her vampires a sense of justice, of right and wrong. Pete still has that human characteristic that only few vampires seem to have, a conscience.
Rendle doesn't just give readers a minor plot in this novel, this one is big... save the key holder, save the world. It was go big or go home with this book and Rendle pulls it off with style. I recommend this one to paranormal and YA readers. It's a fresh perspective on a paranormal character that you thought you knew everything about.
House of Vampires is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
House of Vampires is Samantha's first book. She came up for the idea when she was fourteen. She lives in Bristol with her mum, Jayne, her sister Jessica and her two dogs, Fred and Donnie. She is currently in the middle of her A Levels.