Zebra, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-7318-6
Historical Paranormal Romance, 1997
It probably started out with an enthusiastic editor plonking down Anne Rice’s bestselling Interview with the Vampire. “Bloody hell, people, women are going nuts over these books. We must cash in. Give me some vam-pa-yah romances!”
Smart Aleck Romance Reader shushes him. “We romance readers disapprove of, among other things, bloodletting (unless it’s hymenal), bisexuality, dirt, hedonism, and foul words.”
Another reader chimes in, “We don’t read anything that isn’t set in England, 18th and 19th century.”
“No untitled people.”
But both readers agree, “We want vampire romances. Sounds fun. Just don’t make them drink blood, sleep in dirty coffins, have sex with men and women, and revel in bloody orgies. We also want these vampires to be dukes and earls, and we want them to be rakes.”
And thus, the vampire romance thing is born. This is one bewildering genre where the vampires are… oh, it pains me to describe how whiny and castrated and defanged these pale imitations are. Are we romance readers so traumatized that even a single hint of blood will drive us to clutch at our bon-bon doilies in fear? Then why are we reading vampire romances?
This is an anthology of Regency vampire love stories. Yes, traditional Regency vampire love stories. No sex, no bloodletting, no hedonism, not even one bit of seductive come-on’s. If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering if there’s even any excuse in this world to read this book now. Mine is I had no idea these stories are traditional Regencies until I dry up waiting for the orgasms to come.
What I do get are three really stupid heroines being rescued by strangers who turn out to be vampires. These heroines, in their “virtuous innocence”, finally let our weary, guilt-ridden, I-just-wanna-die gloom-dooms understand the meaning of true love, and then these gloom-dooms have another reason to whine: how can they bite Puretta Ignorencia here and make her a vampire? Oh, oh, oh!
In Monique Ellis’s The DeVille Inheritance, our heroine wanders the Seven Dials at the dead of night – alone, unarmed, completely lost – and she is attacked by a Madame and her bully boys. Our vampire dude saves her, finds her brother for her, and is rewarded for his fetish for stupid virgins by becoming human at last. Immortality conquered by impulsive stupidity!
In Sara Blayne’s Dark Shadows, the “scandalous” Lady Blythe, who’s just a misunderstood walking carrion, is courted by a vampire, gets killed, and becomes his vampire girlie. The end. Immortality is attained via impulsive stupidity!
Finally, Janice Bennett’s The Full of the Moon. Best of the lot, because it’s the shortest of the three. Heroine wants to rescue (who else?) brother, gets into all sorts of stupid crap, gets rescued by vampire, and dies. I weep tears of joy. Vampire revives her, and life is sucky all over again. No pun intended.
Lords of the Night – the dullest, whiniest, blandest vampires around falling for the most reckless, stupid, foolhardy, impulsive, and thought-free “innocent” dingbats ever. It’s a triple combo of bitchslapping my intelligence, and I tell you, I really feel as if all joy is being sucked out of my life by this painful irony-free exercise of stupid heroines and whiny heroes. Bite me.