Author Ellen C. Maze
Gems: Given the recent popularity of vampire tales, it is challenging to come up with something original. This story is a mixture of old vampire lore with a new twist that most stories either avoid, or hesitate to offer any explanation for because the unknown is typically the allure. Why do vampires exist and where did they come from? This question is as old as the vampire itself. Maze does not shy away from providing an answer, but rather tackles it head on and gives the reader a POV that might satisfy those with similar religious beliefs. Just as the main character is clear about her convictions, the author also makes it equally clear about where and why these creatures exist. Secondarily, an undercurrent theme appears and I found it way more intriguing than those dealing with religion. In the story, humans are compared to cows and rabbits, both food sources. In our world cows are milked, and in the story, humans are bled for nourishment. They are nothing more than farm animals, and some characters even resemble domestic pets. This is an interesting concept and got me thinking about our own perception of the food chain and consumption. What is moral and immoral when it comes to feeding on living things or their by-products?
Flaws: This story adheres to a religious POV and if the reader is either not prepared for it, or simply does not agree with the general inferences or beliefs, then they will be in for a very bumpy ride. Because of this, audiences will either be alienated or confirmed. It leaves little room for interpretation or alternative possibilities. Generalizations about gender and sexuality are implied as well as attitudes towards homosexuality. At first, I thought perhaps something progressive was happening, but the deeper I got into the story, the more I realized that certain behaviors and lifestyles were associated with evil concepts. Although this might not be problematic for some readers, I think others might be offended. I’m actually rather surprised that the story hasn’t taken more hits from critics because this is one of those books that if it agrees with your own personal morals and beliefs, the reader will love it — but if it doesn’t, they will despise it and say so. Honestly, I’ve never seen so many 5 star ratings for a book with such a strong religious view and coupled with vampires, it is staggering to think that hardly anyone disagrees. I’m all for having a religious POV when it comes to subject matter, I’m just shocked it hasn’t been met by more debate. Either readers are timid to confront this, or as I suspect, the book is primarily appealing to a certain corner of the readership. In addition, I need more personal conflict and fight from the main character, Beth Rider. I understand that she truly puts her faith in God, but given the situation, I can not help but image some weakness should have arisen — I wanted to see more cracks in her exterior so when she did come to her final decision, it would be more powerful. She is the only person who does not have an epiphany or change. At some point, I guess I needed to see her question her religious beliefs (just a hint) so I could witness her true strength. I wanted to experience this, so I could also see or relate to her as ‘human.’