Every once in a while, when I'm bored of long, weighty tomes, I like to read trashy romance novels. I read them knowing they're stupid, but quite frankly I throw whatever standards I have to the wind and enjoy them when they're in my hands. I have a feeling that it lowers my fiancé's opinion of me, but that can't be helped. With that in mind, how could I resist a book named Single White Vampire?
Single White Vampire starts with editor Kate Leever writing to one of her new authors, Lucern Argeneau, attempting to persuade him to attend some publicity events to capitalise on his wildly popular vampire romance novels. His reaction is a succinct "no". She assumes that it's because he's a surly and gruff introvert. While this is true, it's not his only reason: Lucern is himself a vampire, and his books marketed as fiction are actually accounts of the great romances of his immediate family. When Kate finds that she can't persuade him to attend anything via writing, she decides to take a different route: camp out on his doorstep until he agrees to do the publicity. With two equally stubborn and beautiful people in the same breathing space, it's obvious that sparks are going to fly.
One of the glorious things about trashy romance, especially of the paranormal variety, is that the writing is often cheesy enough to provoke unintentional laughter. That was actually missing here, which I was really not expecting. I think there was only one point where a double entendre just took me straight out of a narrative: in a novel of 369 pages, that's pretty impressive. There are no swooning heroines, no overly-aggressive and possessive alpha males, no corny lines about how either lover smells "spicy" (something that has always confused me). Instead you have an editor who takes her author's peculiarities completely in stride, and a vampire who presents a tough shell to the world, but is a complete sweetie underneath all the grumpiness. The relationship actually feels realistic, which is impressive. Although I might just feel a bit of deja-vu considering that they initially bond over video games, which was a nice touch. There's also a decent amount of space in the narrative to cover the consideration that goes into a relationship which will forever stop you from having a normal life, instead of the heroine just skipping willy-nilly into a decision that should take time to deliberate over; again, it was a nice touch.
The one thing that bugs me is the explanation for vampirism that's given. It is simultaneously interesting and INCREDIBLY STUPID. Okay, so the idea is that vampire condition is caused by nano-machines in the body that increase the body's efficiency and require an intake of blood to work. That's not a new idea, but the idea of nano-machines being used to increase the human life-span isn't totally far-fetched in our day and age. The problem begins when you think about when the book is set. The book states that it is the year 2003 (the year Single White Vampire was first published in America), at which point Lucern is over 600 years old. So we are apparently supposed to accept that people had manufactured nano-machines in the middle ages, the same era that believed that shaving chicken bottoms and tying them to sores would cure the plague. I call bullshit. I could have accepted magic, but when you try and put a scientific theory to a supernatural being like vampires, it had better be DAMN good.
As a romance plot, it's a nice mix of sexual tension, unexpected humour and some decently written sex scenes. The vampire aspect does feel a little bit superfluous, but when it does arise it's dealt with reasonably well. If you're looking for a more down-to-earth romance, then this will probably suit quite nicely. 4/5
Next review: Something slightly different. You'll see....