Being a vampire is far from glamorous…but it can be pretty punk rock.
Everything you’ve heard about vampires is a lie. They can’t fly. No murders allowed (the community hates that). And turning into a bat? Completely ridiculous. In fact, vampire life is really just a lot of blood bags and night jobs. For Louise Chao, it’s also lonely, since she swore off family ages ago.
At least she’s gone to decades of punk rock shows. And if she can join a band of her own (while keeping her…situation under wraps), maybe she’ll finally feel like she belongs, too.
Then a long-lost teenage relative shows up at her door. Whether it’s Ian’s love of music or his bad attitude, for the first time in ages, Louise feels a connection.
But as Ian uncovers Louise’s true identity, things get dangerous–especially when he asks her for the ultimate favor. One that goes beyond just family…one that might just change everything vampires know about life and death forever.
I’ve read a few of Chen’s other books, so I assumed this would be similar. Vampirism is only the backdrop for what the story is truly about.
Meet Louise Chao – hardcore punk rock fan, guitarist, night shift hospital janitor, vampire. Since the deaths of her aunt and best friend, she’s led a pretty secluded life. The exception is her french fry-loving corgi, Lola (she’s named after The Kinks song that kept playing in my head while reading). Louise wants to be part of a band and has auditioned for some, but when you can only perform at night – because vampirism – options are limited.
Enter Ian – thirteen-year-old music fan, aspiring musician, tech genius, and long-lost relative. He discovers what Louise is, but is pretty disappointed to learn being a real life vamp doesn’t align with movie/TV vamps. No biting humans (it’s actually pretty gross), no superhuman speed/powers, no special permission required to enter homes, no turning humans, and romantic relationships are a thing of the past. The equipment no longers works in that capacity. Nothing at all like the Anne Rice books. Louise’s life is focused on secrecy and knowing where her next meal is coming from – primarily the nearly expired blood bags she takes from the hospital. But Ian still asks her for a life-changing favor.
If you’re looking for the more typical vampire tales,you won’t find them here. This story is mainly about family – the good, bad, and the ugly – and paying it forward. About listening objectively to observations about your life – especially if they come from very insightful teenagers. About making connections and finding a community. And about music. Music fans will adore all the references, and I love that characters are named after musical influences in the author’s life. He also leaves vampire-related Easter eggs for vamp fans. A slow burn, enjoyable read from start to finish.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Vampire Weekend : A Novel
On Sale Date: January 31, 2023
About the Author:
Mike Chen is a lifelong writer, from crafting fan fiction as a child to somehow getting paid for words as an adult. He has contributed to major geek websites (The Mary Sue, The Portalist, Tor) and covered the NHL for mainstream media outlets. A member of SFWA and Codex Writers, Mike lives in the Bay Area, where he can be found playing video games and watching Doctor Who with his wife, daughter, and rescue animals. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @mikechenwriter
Author website: https://www.mikechenbooks.com/