Not Actually A Review – Honor at Stake – Declan Finn

In the spirit of fairness, this is mostly a rant about how I hate vampires, not a review of the book, which is decently written and entertaining if you have a high enough tolerance of vampires and Catholicism. Problem is, I….I have a lower than necessary tolerance for both, and so wasn’t really happy with this book. It’s not bad! I just didn’t like it and am taking the opportunity to complain.


Plot: two weirdoes bump into each other on a college campus. One of them’s a vampire. One of them isn’t. It’s not the one you would have assumed at first. Also, they are Catholic. Also, there are gangs of vampires attacking and killing people in NYC. Also, Vatican Ninjas. (Did we mention Catholic?) And, to be honest, I kind of gave up at the Vatican Ninja part, just because I consider that to be lazy writing. (“Vatican Ninjas” is a direct quote from the book and how they are referred to…including by the priest.)

This book wasn’t a really good match for my tastes to begin with–I was attracted by the thought that it would be about a couple of sociopaths being nominal good guys because they kill vampires–because I bloody well hate vampires to begin with.

No, really. I despise them. The only non-Dracula vampires I actually like are the Kate Daniels ones–they’re mindless, mutated, feral zombies who drink blood and are used as mind-controlled servitors by the wizard guild. That made me genuinely enjoy reading about them. The Dresden Files vamps are also acceptable, because they get around the sexy-vamp pitfall by showing how creepy and inhuman the sex-vamps/succubi actually are, and it also the classic-vamps good antagonists by making them extremely scary, extremely intelligent, and totally evil.

Vampires in fantasy, particularly urban fantasy, are treated much the same way sub-par authors treat elves: powerful, sexy, mysterious, romantic. Only, elves aren’t necessarily fundamentally opposed to human life and human nature. Elves don’t have to hypnotize the hero/heroine to get to second base-range. I have an aversion to being told a soul-eating, mind-controlling, undead monster made of rotting flesh and secondhand blozod is a desirable romantic prospect. Y’know?

There’s a book–whose name I do not remember, it was many years ago that I stumbled upon it–where the badass, trenchcoated vamp cuts through a police squad effortlessly, probably with a katana, and descends back into the crypt….and then proceeds to vomit up blood into it’s master mouth. That’s what I think of vampires.

Also, lampshading the fact that modern vampires are all over the place and usually romatic/erotic heroes (hello, Laurel K. Hamilton.) doesn’t help your case, when your hero is A VAMPIRE and there is an extremely strong romance element in the mix. Also-also, bashing Twilight for Mormonism when you aren’t much better about Catholicism, isn’t a very sporting move.

So, yeah.