by Maggie Shayne, contemporary/vampire (2001, reissue)
Silhouette, $6.99, ISBN 0-373-48437-2
This is a bad time for genre TV as far as I am concerned. Angel has become a bad Kirk "Growing Pains" Cameron wannabe and the series has gone down the drain since that Pylea crap, and as for Buffy The Vampire Slayer, well, let's not talk about the increasingly depressive Buffy and that now redundant pussy Spike.
Dark Angel - hmmm - Smallville - ugh - Roswell - spare me - The X-Files - dork you Chris Carter and Frank Spotniz... I want to shoot my TV to smithereens.
Then my TV yanks off the only above-average genre TV series worth watching, Mysterious Ways, and I am fit to kill. Where else will I get my weekly heartwarming jollies, mystery, and laughter now? I don't mind if they replace it with Farscape, but no, they replaced it with Enterprise. Aah!
I have my reservations about romance novel vampires, since all of them are pussies, but so starved of any decent genre TV that I turned to Maggie Shayne's reissue of Twilight Phantasies, Twilight Memories, and Twilight Illusions, repackaged as one volume here in Wings In The Night.
After a few hours of reading, I can summerize the whole experience as thus: Camp Homoerotica - Yay! Or "Camp HoYay!" for short, according to the wise folks at MBTV.
I have never reading anything this gay for a while.
Not that it's bad. But see, this is a heterosexual romance, yes? So what's all this hoyay stuff floating around? Get rid of all those annoying faghag scenery chewers and let the guys snog, for chrissakes, because I have never seen so much repressed hoyay-ness around.
The world of Wings In The Night features a different kind of vampires. I hasten to elaborate, as I fear the Pedophilia Strike Squad will break down Maggie Shayne's door for this, but what the heck, tell the FBI it's all hoyay-yay around town today.
Okay, the vampires. The vampires here drink blood, as far as I can tell, only for two reasons: convert the heroine or convert the Chosen. Sometimes both overlap. The Chosen are special mortals who are descendants of great vampires or something like that. So here we have tall strapping vampire dudes stalking around little boys and girls' cribs at night, hoping for a chance to latch their lips on those kiddie necks and start sucking. I doubt even the term "protecting the Chosen" will hold much water in court. If the PSS knock on my door, look, I didn't write this stuff, okay? I'm just here for the hoyay.
In Twilight Phantasies, Eric Marquand, who suffers this "cruel fate", oh the pain, to wander alone, blah blah blah, unaware that he is being stalked by human psycho vampire killers from the imaginatively titled Department of Paranormal Investigations or DPI for short. Add a STICK and we get DIPSTICK, heh heh. Oh, I'm so ten years old.
Anyway, since this is a vampire romance, we have lots of italicized sentences passed off as psychic bond. I have no idea why romance folks think that vampires use all this My soulmate! My vampire! My whiny vampire! claptrap as some sort of bad foreplay. Our heroine Tamara is a sister of a dude at the Dipstick Department, but she sees Eric and she trusts him! She loves him!
He loves her! He trusts her! But look, he's a vampire, so he will first whinewhinewhine about the pain, loneliness, the nastiness of sucking blood, et cetera - oh go suck a carrot, you.
Anyway, all those psychic boondles and italicized yammerings will satisfy readers into pseudo-vampiro claptrap that only punishes the vampires by making them a whiny twit instead of romanticizing them.
The hoyay factor kicks into action in Twilight Memories, where our kickass heroine Rhiannon, who is oh-so-amazing (see me go wow as she just. kicks. ass) but alas, all that strength and fire channeled just because (a) she is pissed about her daddy rejecting her and (b) she wants old vampiro dude Roland to love her. It's like Angel's Darla all over again - all that strength wasted on pining after a whiny twit when there's a yummy Lindsey just waiting for some TLC.
Roland is more concerned with a young Chosen boy. He just can't wait to smack his lips on that boy's neck - I hope it's only the neck - and S-U-C-K all that yummy fluids out of that boy. Only, of course, since we are all genteel romance readers, we call it Care and Concern or something.
The Dipstick Department are back, and Rhiannon screeches the immortal version of The Sound Of Music as she moms Roland's future boyfriend while winning over Roland with her enthusiasm. Oh, Rhiannon, you are just asking for trouble, girlfriend - going between a whiny vampiro-dude and his boylove will only lead to heartbreak.
Still, there is decent enough sexual chemistry between Roland and Rhiannon, and the nasty guys create a decent external conflict that has me reading. This one is a bit heavy on the grim hero tortured-mortured whinefest stuff, but the kickass chick of a heroine saves the day.
Finally, an even older vampire in Twilight Illusions. And get this - Damien the Eternal, a magician, has some close, close ties (actually, to reveal more is to spoil the story) with Gilgamesh and Enkidu. Oh, Shannon, girlfriend - that's your warning sign. I mean, oh man, Gilgamesh and Enkidu of all people! This is just like Alexander the Great and Hephaistion Amyntoros, Achilles and Patroclus, and other Hoyay Legends.
For those uninitiated into hoyay legends, Gilgamesh is an Assyrian king in the past who raped, looted, pillaged, and generally made all his people's lives so miserable that the people prayed to the gods to do something. So the gods brought down Enkidu, a very strong mortal who, upon meeting Gilgamesh, soon becomes Gil's devoted follower (ahem). Gil gives up whoring, raping, and only a little looting and pillaging and these two become joined at the hip as they embark on many adventures together.
They are so gay.
So Shannon, you silly girl, why even waste your time with Damien? He doesn't love you. He loves Roland and Eric - see the electricity between the three vampires! You girls are just wasting time.
Anyway, there's also a murder spree and the Dipstick are at it again in this novella. This novella is better than the other two because there is great suspense and tension - the fear kind, not the sexual kind - to make up for the lack of credible romance.
In this world of vampires, there's not much love, more like some brand of hero worship from the women, wrapped up in mumbo jumbo about soulmates, destiny, fate, and other schoolgirl/fangirl nonsense. The vampire dudes, no matter how loud they whine and how much bat their eyelids at fellow vampire dudes, are always right. Humans are all dipsticks, we all want to be vampires! Take us, Lord Vampyre! Use us as your therapy couch! Sit on us and suck us dry!
I don't know - I'm pretty amused by the whole hoyayness of these stories, the decent suspense in the last two novellas, and the feitsiness of two out of three heroines (Tamara is the one who, when Eric suck her dry, surprises me by even having blood in the first place - amazing for someone with so little bone marrow). The vampires whine too much for my liking - wimps, them all - although Roland is pretty sexy as a closeted vampiro gay porno waiting to happen.
Oh, and the author's "Hello, readers!" note is pretty amusing too. She calls her fans "children" and her own books "tomes". As she thanks her children for buying her tomes and making these tomes classics (hey, they are sold for $60.00 in some auction, you know - it's like, why, like an autographed version of Finnegan's Wake or something!), I wonder if Andrew Lloyd Webber would ever make a musical out of one of those silly vampire-wannabe cults out there.
Wings In The Night - denizens of the hoyay underdark salute thee!
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
Search for more reviews of works by this author: