Slayed by Amanda Marrone
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Amanda Marrone's Slayed is well written spin on the descendents from `Dracula'.
The protagonist, Daphne, 17 years old, has traveled over the east coast most of her life `slaying' vampires. She yearns to be normal; to have friends, to experience having a boyfriend or to at least have the opportunity to hold hands with a boy! There's even pictures of potential prom dresses for a prom she'll never go to. She has a scrapbook of sorts that she has collected over the years; in those pages are pictures of imaginary friends she's drawn, a yellow house with a dog sitting in front just waiting for her to come home to. These are the `normal' things she yearns for, instead of life on the road with no friends, no home and not even a curling iron to call her own! Her mother, Joy is a controlling rigid woman, doesn't allow Daphne to read any other magazine except for Jennifer-Kate, a magazine devoted to clean living and isn't all `sexed-up'. Her father is more laid back; always deferring to her mother. Despite this type of sheltered life, she has seen more than her share of horror in the form of vampire slaying. Daphne's a great character; she's smart, witty and real. I loved her!
When the story starts, Daphne and her parents, descendents of THE Van Helsing, her father anyways, are heading towards South Bristol, Maine. There have been strange occurrences; traditional vamp activity but also a rash of infants being admitted to the hospital with anemia and weakness and some have died mysteriously in the night. No sign of any fangs present.
When the Van Helsing's arrive they meet up with the Harkers, yes, from Dracula, once friends now foe; Nathan and Tyler Harker, father and son. Tyler's the same age as Daphne and has the whole Goth look going. Daphne doesn't understand her mother's hostile attitude towards Mr. Harker and is surprised at how angry she gets when they are meeting with the police chief to discuss the assignment and the price. It's decided that the Van Helsings and the Harkers will work together on this assignment with a $5000 bonus going to the family with the most kills. The race is on!
Mr. Harker has some unique ideas; vampires aren't harming/killing the infants but something else is..... Could he be right? Tyler, our Goth dude with guyliner has some surprising character developments; his life hasn't been easy but he is easy on the eyes.
Kiki aka Maybelle Crusher, is a rich girl who was once a part of her family's famous children's band and television show: The Disco Unicorns. Daphne meets her on a recon trip and Kiki is one of the most hilarious characters!Kiki is a plastic surgeons dream with a chip on her shoulder and lots of money to burn. Kiki decides that slaying is her calling & Daphne has to teach her. Kiki is a riot and despite her `spoiled girl' tude, she's got guts, humor and a surprising sense of empathy that makes you want to be her friend once you get to know her.
The story flows very nicely. It held my attention, I liked the characters and there were some unexpected developments that I wasn't expecting. I especially liked the humor and found myself laughing out loud at some of Kiki's antics. There is also some sorrow and heartbreak; all in all, there is a nice balance of chills and thrills, romance and comedy blended with real characters who have suffered greatly.