CM . . .
. Volume XIX Number 27. . . .March 15, 2013
Emylene Stipe is 18-years-old when the novel begins, and she is a second generation Goth who is in the midst of rebelling against parents who, themselves, are seen as rebels in society. Her favourite response to almost any question is simply one word, “perverse”, and yet Emylene only learns the true meaning of the word as the story progresses. For some inexplicable reason, Emylene finds herself drawn to a particular sketch in the local antique store. Once she has purchased it and installed it in her apartment, the girl pictured in the sketch magically escapes from her frame-prison and enters Emylene’s life for real. Little does Emylene know that nothing about her world will ever be the same again.
Rodness begins the novel with an interesting premise, namely that a character in a sketch comes to life and interacts with those around her. In fact, Mira soon takes over, and readers realize that she is far from the innocent young woman portrayed in the artwork. Another main character is Lazslo, a Croat whom Emylene meets and who seems to be her only ally, accompanying Emylene to Other-Town where vampires have taken control and helping her understand how best to protect herself without falling victim to the glitter and glamour of what superficially appears to be a better life.
The novel depends largely on a fast-paced plot as Emylene finds herself surrounded by Vrykolakas and other vampire-like creatures. It becomes impossible for her to know where to put her trust as those closest to her have apparently been turned by the vampires. The plot rushes from one scene to the next, not always maintaining consistency. Emylene and Laszlo often go from one part of the city to the other, and, in time, this becomes rather repetitive, even if the details are designed to be graphic and exciting. In the end, Emylene is back with her parents, Other-Town had burned to the ground, and everything wraps up very neatly.
The final lines of the novel suggest that the vampires might not have been truly overcome and perhaps Rodness is considering a sequel. Hopefully another book will have a tighter plotline, characters who grow and mature in front of the reader, and an improved editorial staff to take out not only plot inconsistencies but spelling and grammar difficulties and what appears to be unintended humour.
Ann Ketcheson, a retired teacher-librarian and teacher of high school English and French, lives in Ottawa, ON.
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