It is October 2004 and the world has been struck by a virulent viral infection that turns ordinary people into super-strong, blood drinking vampires. Schoolteacher Kate and her friends Sue and Charlie find themselves running from the rampaging hordes of newly-turned “suckers”.
When Kate is attacked by sucker Caleb, her world turns upside down. She falls in love at first sight but is then faced with the life-altering decision whether to follow Caleb or to turn to Charlie.
Theme of the Book
Living Like a Vampire is more than a simple vampire story. There is love, both romantic and platonic; there is adventure and danger; there is humor that sees the characters through their darkest hours.
What I Liked About the Story
Ms. Dahlhaus has an interesting theory for the origin of the suckers in her novel. The idea of a viral plague is not as far-fetched as may first be thought. In these times of chemical and biological weapons, the possibility of a world-changing virus manufactured and spread is a frightening one. Instead of the usual supernatural vampire chronicle, this author has given us something based on science.
The story line in Living Like a Vampire is fast paced and holds the reader’s interest throughout. Aside from three chapters towards the beginning of the book, the action does not stop. Ms. Dahlhaus has given readers plenty of confrontations between the suckers and the remaining normal population but also between rival leaders of sucker packs.
Kate, the main character, is a strongly developed character though not very likable. Charlie, who is obviously in love with Kate, is also a well-written character. However, the most interesting characters were the leaders of the sucker packs. Duncan, ex-military, runs his pack like a well-drilled army. Julie, Kate’s sister, is the mother figure to the women in her pack. Caleb, Kate’s love interest, seems to have more humanity than many of the other sucker figures. Sasha, Caleb’s companion, is evil personified.
This is the first installment in a trilogy that tells the story of Kate and Charlie. As such, it does a good job of setting the background and explaining the history to support what is to come.
What I Didn’t Like About the Story
At the beginning of the novel, Kate describes herself as the practical one in her family and in her group of friends. However, throughout the novel, Kate bases all of her decisions on her emotional reactions and not on any logical thinking. I found Kate exasperating and at times wanted to shout at her. I was a bit puzzled to discover that Charlie is a dwarf – this really adds nothing to the story and Charlie himself seems to have few physical limitations aside from not being able to drive a normal car.
There are three chapters at the beginning of the book in which Kate, Charlie, and Sue are hiding out in a campground. These three chapters do not add much to the plot line. They are full of double entendres and some humor, but aside from establishing the basics of the relationship between Kate and Charlie (which could have been done in one chapter and certainly didn’t need three), there is no obvious reason for them.
The ending of the story felt rushed, as if the author herself was tired of the novel and simply wanted to finish it.
There were also a few editing problems. The story is set in the US, but the author refers to “Girl Guides’ and not “Girl Scouts”. In one scene, Kate refers to her residential city as looking like a “slump”. I’m guessing the author meant “slum”. Finally, there were a few problems with verb tenses. A quick proofreading should eliminate these minor problems.
Living Like a Vampire is a quick read that combines romance, adventure, tension, and humor. With its sexually based humor and some strong language, it is not a YA novel. Readers who are looking for an entertaining, but undemanding book, should truly enjoy this one.