3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Hemovore is taut thriller that's set in an alternative universe Chicago where vampirism exists, but unlike in stories like Dracula or Twilight, vampirism is a virus, and most who catch it don't survive. Those who do are more like the vampires we know from pop culture--subsist on blood, allergic to sunlight, beautiful, and with attuned abilities such as strength, speed, or higher awareness.
There are a lot of allusions to HIV with the vampire virus since it can be transmitted through body fluids. The vampire virus is far more contagious though (like a condom isn't good enough protection) so being in a relationship with a V+ person means you need to think creatively about expressing affection.
Which brings us to our main characters and story--Jonathan Varga is a famed Vampire artist, gorgeous and forever looking 25, even though he's decades older. His assistant Mark is in his mid-40's and feels very schlubby in comparison to Jonathan's sleekness. Mark is V negative, which means he religiously cleans everything that Jonathan touches, all the while trying not to think too deeply about his feelings for Jonathan, both lustful and otherwise, since consummating anything would be impossible without risking catching the virus. This is their existence, day in and day out--V+ employer, V- employee, neither communicating about what they feel about each other.
Then trouble comes along in the form of a deadly vampire from Jonathan's past, and both Jonathan and Mark are forced to flee together to stay safe. Their journey and choices over the following days will test their relationship, and force them both to confront all the things that had been unsaid before then.
I enjoyed Hemovore--it's a very creative, well-written story with very consistent world-building. The author really excels at introducing an alternative-world idea (in this case, vampire virus) and rolling it out so it's very believable. The characters are also engaging, and some of my favorite parts where the conversations between Jonathan and Mark--they have an interesting way of communicating with each other, especially during times when Jonathan, normally very reticent and serious, tries to lighten the mood. You can sense that they have known each other for years, but at the same time, you can feel some of the silent underlying frustration between them because of the virus and the obstacle it plays.
My only notch down about the story is that it's grimmer than other works I've read by the author. There's nothing wrong with grimness, but it meant for me that it was easier to put down and leave for a while whereas normally I speed right through her work.
Part of the grimness is because the virus is depressing--most people don't live through it, and the risk of Mark catching it (and the possibility of dying) weighs on Jonathan as heavy as the guilt he feels for getting Mark mixed up in the mess they're in. Mark's acerbic, sarcastic voice adds some levity, but overall, I found it a heavier read than say, her Psycop books, or some of her other stand-alone novels. At the same time, I'm not sure how one would lighten the mood a little bit without wrecking the overall tone of the story. (I'll be honest, the ending helped pick me up from the heaviness of the middle third.)
It's a good read though, and I recommend it, especially if you're already a fan of the author. It's very creative, great characters, and as usual, fantastic writing.