Amanda Marrone is such an amazing author and for someone who is terrified of the dark, leaves all the lights on and jumps at the sound of a cat meowing outside, she's managed to terrify her readers with her eerie writing style.
Author: Amanda Marrone
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages Paperbook, 244
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 with her parents. She yearns to be normal; to have best friends, to experience having a boyfriend or to at least have the opportunity to hold hands with one! 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 complete with a dog sitting in front just waiting for her to come home to and picture upon picture of magazine cut-outs of how she thinks a normal teens life should be. These are the normal things she yearns for but instead of this she lives her life on the road with no friends, no home and not even a curling iron to call her own. Her mother, Joy, 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’ like the other teen magazines that Daphne yearns for. Her father is more laid back; deferring to her mother, who controls what, where and how the family does things. Despite this type of sheltered life, Daphne has seen more than her share of horror in the form of vampire slaying.
When the story starts, Daphne and her parents, her father being a descendent of the real Van Helsing, are heading towards South Bristol, Maine. There has been 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.
Mr. Harker has some unique ideas; vampires aren’t harming/killing the infants but something else is….. Could he be right?
The fun part comes with the introduction of Kiki aka Maybelle Crusher, 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 Maybelle who changed her name to Kiki is one of the most hilarious characters! She has a chip on her shoulder when she was replaced on the show because she was a chubby mousey haired kid and they replaced her with a beautiful blonde. Kiki is changed; a plastic surgeons dream with a chip on her shoulder and lots of money to burn. Kiki decides that slaying is her calling. 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. Daphne’s a great character; she’s smart, witty and real. I loved her!
There is also some sorrow and heartbreak; all in all, there is a nice balance of chills and thrills, romance and comedy blended with a fair amount of heart break.