A few months ago, I was in Cambridge, charity shopping. I was loitering in one of the shops waiting for a friend to finish buying something, and I was idly flicking through books of flute music on a table by the bookcases, remembering when I was young and brilliant (and, er, played the flute). Maybe something caught my eye, maybe I just turned to look at the bookshelves because they were there, but out of maybe five hundred books one spine immediately caught my eye. It was black, and entitled Paris Immortal, and I picked it up assuming it was some piece of dodgy crime fiction (fine by me) or an hilarious trashy romance.
The front cover elucidated, Paris Immortal : a vampire tale, and I am never, ever one to resist a vampire book, so I took a look at the back. "When Trey meets his new legal clients, the stunning Michel and his equally striking partner Gabriel, he can't believe his luck." Wait, he? He?
I've walked into a charity shop and unwittingly picked up a gay vampire book? Z, as they say, OMG.
So I bought it, thinking it would be at best good and fun (and hot), and at worst endearing and providing of material for mockery.
It's more than good, and fun, and hot. It is all those things, but it is also the vampire book I would have written, if I could write. It is the vampire book that has been just out of reach all these years of being disaffected with other authors' plots, writing style, ridiculous characters, massive online temper tantrums, Jesus fanfiction, and whatever else. It is the vampire book I was waiting all my life for, AND NOW IT HAS A SEQUEL. You should buy them both. Yes, you should. I mean, if you like that sort of thing, obviously.
I've read a lot of books - naturally - and been moved by a lot of books - obviously, or what's the point? If I'm loving a book and getting on well, one way or another, with the characters in it then of course what happens to them is going to move me. I like it that way. I don't want to be blown away by clever plot twists and yet bored out of my mind as regards actual people; I like people. I want to know what they're thinking, what they're feeling, all the time.
She reads the minds of all the people as they pass her by, hoping someone will see.
Quite apart from the fact that explaining the plot of these books to people has given me the opportunity to use the phrase "their bisexual business lawyer" far more often than anyone else gets to in life, they're...eh. Special. To me. They're first-person narrated, which, I think, often works best in supernatural fiction, because it's difficult otherwise to capture the sense of curiosity, bewilderment, realisation, joy and/or terror that goes along with discovering things are either Not Quite How You Thought They Were or, sometimes, Exactly How You Thought They Were But Had Been Telling Yourself They Couldn't Be.
They. I. am internally wailing my way through this sequel, stopping every few pages to breathe because sometimes I can only read when I'm traveling and public transport isn't the best place to suddenly burst into tears sobbing BUT THAT'S JUST WHAT IT'S LIKE, or OH GOD NO I'M SORRY, or whatever it is one is driven to say in the moment. One doesn't just have glancing affection for these characters, one falls in love with them, reading everything they say twice just to be sure one hasn't missed anything. That's...that's pretty rare in supernatural fiction, where it's easy to make everything about the crazy things that are happening, and not focus too much on the delicate mental workings of the crazy people things are happening to.
The world he carried hope for, he had already lost.
You know how it is when you know what you think, and you could articulate what you think, you just never do, and then you read it somewhere. You can't help but cry.