It’s rare for me not to finish a book that I’ve taken to review, much less move forward with the review. But this is not your typical DNF. So much is right with The Vampire Voss that I think I could adore it if it didn’t hit my particular buttons quite so hard. Right, so here is the solution.
I am not going to review The Vampire Voss. Mostly. I’ll explain what kept me from enjoying it, and if those are not things that would keep you from enjoying the book then I think it’s worth a look. Gleeson has an easy writing style with a nice eye for characterization and description, her pacing is solid, and her worlds are well realized. There’s a lot more to The Vampire Voss than my displeasure. (If my Sony hadn’t bricked twice during my third go at the book I might have made it to the end!)
In this world of Vampires and Vampire Hunters there are also rare persons with The Sight. One of those is Angelica. Her ability to see the moment of a person’s death brings her to the attention of (say it with me) The Vampire Voss. Voss is the kind of kid his mother might describe as ‘intellectual, sensitive, easily bored’ and the other kids might describe as ‘a serious pain in the ass’. My problem with Voss, and thus my problem with the book, is that he is a date rapist of high order. He sees a woman, he roofies her with his magic eyes, and they can get it on. He admits he doesn’t really care how willing she is at first because hey, she’ll like it later. Maybe he comes to realize this is wrong. I don’t know. I didn’t care. He ‘thralls’ half a dozen women and I just see rapist.
Book two is The Vampire Dimitri. Dimitri’s mom might have described him as ‘studious, committed, ethical’ while the other kids probably called him ‘a serious pain in the ass’. You know that these two men will end up together. Dimitri is the required pigs blood drinker, the vampire with regrets. There’s a scene where Voss marvels at the unneeded pain Dimitri puts himself through for his beliefs, since in this universe Lucifer continually sends physical signals of his displeasure to the bodies of his men. Being good hurts, what can Voss tell you. Voss proves he’s the good kind of rapist when after a scene that’s a little bit Merchant Ivory Slasher Flick, a little bit West Side Story With Fangs he comes upon a defenseless Dimitri and… doesn’t hurt him. Ok then.
I understand that the Vampire genre either skirts with or embraces non-consent as a very fact of it’s existence. This makes many of the books fail for me, because my bad boys need to be a little less bad than the whole ‘She’ll want it by the time I’m done’ thing. Angelica, of course, is somewhat immune to being enthralled. She can’t be the one girl in all the world if she isn’t, right? Don’t let them have the milk, make them buy the cow.
I like Gleeson’s style, I like her mechanics, I will absolutely try her again. For me, the sheer Vampireness of Voss keeps me from falling in love.