Anna Strong Vampire Chronicles: The Becoming (2004)
The Becoming (2004)
Anna Strong is a bounty hunter. She and her partner David are trying to bring in a bail jumper when he attacks them both, and his attack on Anna turns her into a vampire. (This isn’t a secret. This story is about how she becomes a vampire.)
So. Another vampire story. Lots of those out there. Does this one manage to be different? Yes and no.
The vampires in Anna’s world are very different from those in ours. They can walk in sunlight for one thing, which has allowed to remain the hidden in plain sight. But some things from folklore remain true, and the vampire’s desire for blood is one of them. This change in the mythology I liked, although the vampires in Anna’s world seem to have all the strengths of the vampires of folklore, including super strength and speed and an ability to control others to some degree.
Where it doesn’t much differ from many other vampire books is that there is lots of boinking. OK. Vampire sex is the most awesome sex in the world. Fine. We got it. Now shut up about it.
But the real strength of this book is the story. It goes in directions I didn’t expect, which was a very nice touch. There is also a focus upon whether Anna keeps or loses her humanity to her vampire nature. And that was quite interesting as well.
As far as the story arc, the primary arc was finished, and that is how Anna becomes a powerful vampire, and resolves the problems that come from that, including finding the vampire who turned her. There are very many questions left unresolved, but they are the kinds of questions that would take more than a single book to unfold, so I don’t mind too much. So there is a lot we don’t know, but the primary plot arc is concluded. But I can also see how the author might have a tendency to leave lots of things hanging at the end of a book, which will annoy me if it gets to be too much.
So it was a decent supernatural fantasy. Way too much focus on sex, but that tends to be par for the course with many supernatural fantasies (which is why I am always so excited when I find a series that isn’t all about sex). But the writing was good, and the story was good, so I’ll pick up the next book in the series and see what I think of it.
I pre-ordered this, not realizing it was in hardback. As much as I love anthologies, I’m not that excited about hardback books–especially anthologies where I don’t know all the authors or the quality of the stories.
Many Bloody Returns pretty much tells you the focus of the stories: vampires and birthdays. In some cases it’s the vampire who is having a birthday, in other cases…not.
Luckily, I wasn’t too disappointed with my purchase. There were several stories by authors I like and charaters whose books I’m reading, namely, Charlaine Harris, PN Elrod, Jim Butcher, and Tanya Huff. Unsurprisingly, some those were also some of the stories I enjoyed most, as they built upon characters with which I am already familiar.
Another story I particularly liked as Jeanne C. Stein’ story “The Witch and the Wicked”. Although I did guess part of where the story was going, I enjoyed Sophie’s musings and thoughts about her future, and her interactions with the vampires. But I mostly liked how the story went in a direction I was not at all expecting.
Otherwise, this was a pretty good collection of stories. I probably would have preferred the book in paperback, but over all I enjoyed it.