Author: Johnny B Truant
Title: Fat Vampire
Genre: Parody & satire (hint of horror… y’know, it’s vampires)
‘When overweight treadmill salesman Reginald Baskin finally meets a co-worker who doesn’t make fun of him, it’s just his own bad luck that tech guy Maurice turns out to be a two thousand-year-old vampire.
And when Maurice turns Reginald to save his life, it’s just Reginald’s own further bad luck that he wakes up to discover he’s become the slowest, weakest, most out-of-shape vampire ever born, doomed to “heal” to his corpulent self for all of eternity.’
Well. I like me my vampires. I like me some stories that aren’t all about gorgeous, skinny, super fit and super beautiful people. This book gives me all of those things and more. Nice.
It’s an odd one. I have a strange bias against mixed graphics in a cover and the super-real piece of chicken against the cartoony dripping blood doesn’t do it for me. I do, however, very much like the till receipt which gives Jonny’s name. I thought that was a pretty slick touch. Beyond that, however, it was missing something for me; like the cover was trying to be more serious than the book actually is. Because… you know… the book is funny.
While I had an issue with the last book I reviewed, this I certainly haven’t read before. There are ideas like it (at its core, Fat Vampire is an underdog-comes-out-on-top story) but it felt different. So that was good.
Reginald (fantastic name choice!) works in an office where he is singled out constantly because of his size. The men (and women) around him are beautiful and slim and fit and he just… isn’t. Then he gets friendly with another outcast in the office; a 19 year old goth-kid called Maurice who walks around with a sword on his hip (for his hedges).
Unfortunately for him, Maurice is also a vampire and, when Reginald gets caught up in the politics between him and the Vampire Nation, he is turned. Well before he is ready.
There are so many ‘awww’ moments in this story as well as a healthy sprinkling of ‘WTHF’ and ‘oh, dear god, that was funny!’ Poor Reginald can’t even catch a meal he’s so fat and slow. Since the vampire market is saturated by dark, broody, perfect, glittery teenager types (YUK!) this was a refreshing twist. Reginald has an ace up his sleeve. And it saves his big fat arse!
My only complaint is that it was over too fast. For a novel that came about as a joke during a podcast, Jonny did really well, but I feel (and wish) that he’d taken more time to expand it a bit. Some aspects felt rushed and while the ending was satisfying, it was over too soon. Not in a ‘oh no, I need more,’ kind of way, but in a ‘oh, is that it? But I wanted to hear what happened to such-and-such.’ Does that make sense? The end could have been just as clean and slick with an additional two chapters to round things off without resorting to a one line; ‘this is what happened’ which is what we got.
Maurice had potential to be a hell of a lot more. I feel that he wasn’t explored as well as he could have been, especially with all that history behind him. He’s 2,000 years old! I realise that this is a six-book series, but it would have been nice to know a bit more about him as the story went on.
I like Nikki without liking her. I know that doesn’t make sense, but she seems really generic. Especially since the other characters are so bright and vibrant. For me, she was missing something and I’m hoping that we’ll see more of the missing sparkle (not that kind of sparkle!) in later books.
Claire is fab. I know kids like this girl and that was lovely to see in a book. Every now and then I thought her situation was slightly over done (she’s likeable enough without having to hammer home that her mother is such a waster) but again, there was something missing. Not enough of her.
Brilliant. This book was well formatted. Clean. Extremely well edited. The chapters were short (which, on a purely personal level) is fantastic. The language was clear and unpretentious with dialogue that rang true to the ear.
Average across all four points comes up as a nice and easy 4 stars. Wonderful. Pretty much what my knee-jerk reaction was when I finished reading. ^_^ Heh, this points and average system is working pretty well!
To close, this was definitely an experience. I picked this book because I enjoyed ‘Write. Publish. Repeat.’ so much and I’m impressed with the level of dedication and perseverance Johnny and the rest of his team puts into working. It impressed, motivated and inspired me to kick my own work into gear so, for that, I thank them. I enjoyed this book A LOT and will, eventually, be looking towards finding the rest of the series. It’s started well enough that I need to see how it plays out.