Book Review: Confession of the Vampire Hunter’s Lover

Confession of the Vampire Hunter's LoverTitle: Confessions of the Vampire Hunter’s Lover

Author: Gina Marney

Rating: 1 of 5 Stars

Blurb: First-time author Gina Marney’s recently-published ebook Confession of the Vampire Hunter’s Lover (Part 1) is a literary gothic romantic adventure in the spirit of Frankenstein and Dracula.

Part 1 of the 2-part novella finds seventeen year-old Seraphim Arthur giving a first-person description of the beginning of her tragic romantic relationship with internationally-acclaimed Master Vampire Hunter Kaleb Bjornovich, from their meeting at a party thrown by her wealthy aunt and uncle, through to the moment at which she begins to realize that his presence in her life might be the reason for her inflating ego.

The book is written in the spirit of a classic 19th-century novel, and contains passages such as: “The beat of my heart quickened as never before, and at the top of my throat I could feel the pulsing from that critical organ to the extent that I feared I wouldn’t be able to speak to him at all, if indeed I was sufficiently fortunate to be the reason for his descending upon the area.” Weaved into Part 1 are accounts of Kaleb’s battles with vampires, as well as a detailed account of an episode of non-vampire-related military war. It is an epic in every sense of the term.

Marney plans to publish Part 2 of the novella sometime in early 2013. “I want to give readers a chance to fall in love with Part 1 first,” she says with a grin.

My Review: To quickly sum up the blurb: Seraphim is a 17 year old girl living in the 19th century. It is a time where vampires are feared for their nature and are as common as their hunters. She goes from being a respectable young lady with a promising future to the vampire hunter’s mistress.

I have a lot to say about this (first installment of a two part) novella- so bear with me. As I started on the first chapter I found that the story was interesting enough. Seraphim has a deer-in-the-headlights, groupie type obsession with the one of the best vampire hunters known, Kaleb. Somehow she manages to catch his attention and they start with their casual banter. Honestly, her whit gave me hope for this novella. Like- I might actually like it. But then chapter one is over and I start on chapter two and get a sense of vertigo. Quite frankly I was lost and confused. The story tends to jump. It goes from them meeting to them kind of going on an adventure together. As the reader I can see that their relationship has progressed but there is no transition. And this is the case from chapter to chapter. In my notes while reading I wrote “I know it is a short story but I don’t like it’s flow. It is as if the story is all a big flashback and Seraphim is only remembering random/ disjointed scenes. There is no flow of abc…. Of sequence.”

I understand that this is a novella and in essence is short and one does not get the luxury of details in the way a novel can produce them. However, I found Confession of the Vampire Hunter’s Lover to be exceptionally lacking. *The character’s were flat and there was not enough life in them for me to connect to or enjoy them. *I got no sense as to where the story is headed. Even as it ended, no cliff hanger, no insight as to what’s next… Nothing. *I dislike the (parenthesis Marney uses) <–LIKE THIS they could easily been apart of the story and tend to enclose descriptions. Sadly, it took away from the novella for me.

The narrative style tended to confuse me. At first I thought that the narrator was changing- from Seraphim to the author. In the sense of the writer wanting something to be known and I could feel the shift from character to author. However, as I was nearing the end of this very short Part 1 of the novella I came to a different conclusion. I believe that biggest issue here is that Marney told the story more than she showed it. Let me explain. You are told things, for example, that Seraphim is shy. Yet nowhere in the story is this shown. It is simply said and the reader is to accept it as a fact. And the problem is that the novella consists of this. The reader being told what happens. No emotions and very few actions are shown to the reader. I feel that I am not doing my description justice so let me tell you what it felt like for me: a person telling you a story in deep monotones. 'I sat down. But was bored and stood back up again. I know you, hearing this might not believe me but I ask that you trust when I say I was bored.'

I feel bad giving this review but the reason I blog is to give my HONEST opinion on the works I read. Sadly, this is not a read I recommend. Through all of my dislikes, I can still see the good intentions and what this novella was intended to be. Marney, my humble advice would be to go back to the drawing board. Take your time with it, develop your characters, don't tell us anything while writing- tell it through your character. My advice in this would be that if you're writing and you're not holding a true sense of who the character is start over. Try practicing. Write really short stories from the characters POV, get to know her better and take another crack at it. And worst case scenario, if you're still struggling with first person narration try writing it from a third person POV.

*I received a free copy of this novella in exchange for an honest review


2 thoughts on “Book Review: Confession of the Vampire Hunter’s Lover

  1. This is a very good, honest review, Tiffany. I understand the character issues with ‘show don’t tell’ because very early in my writing career one of my characters was like this and I got slammed by a publisher (not a nice experience!). But I listened to the publisher and changed my character to act the way I was telling the reader she was like and the story ended up winning a writing award. What Marney can take from this review is invaluable.

    • Dianne, thank you very much! I really did struggle with being honest while not being mean with this review… I wonder what that really says about me?

      I appreciate your comment. It’s nice to know from an author that my opinion is worth something. 🙂

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