I'm a student, so I don't have nearly as much time for leisure reading as I'd like. If I manage to read an entire course book instead of just the assigned chapters, I'll review that here, too.
What do teenagers and vampires have in common? More than you'd think.
Mary Borsellino plunges straight into the world of YA vampire fiction, with human-vampire romance, misfit kids, rock bands and anachronistic glamour, with a few distinctions:
- the romance is mostly queer
- the kids are not all right
- nobody is nice
- heroes fall
- falling for the sexy vampire is really, really bad for you, I mean, oh my god, don't do it
Teenagers really are the author's forte, and there's nothing either condescending or idealized in her depiction of what life if like somewhere between childhood and adulthood, dealing with a bad world that you have no power in. Vampires fit in. No, they really do. If you don't want to grow up into the only kind of adulthood available, and you don't want to die - why not?
Origins and Overtures is the first of the five novels that make up the Wolf House series. As such, it does have the feel of a first part - there is no resolution and very little plot, with an overabundance of named characters. What elevates it is the tone, the style, the characterization, and the delicious sense of being in the moment with those characters, whether it's horrifying, mundane, or satisfying. For me, it was also a pleasure to read about queer kids and unhappy kids who do self-destructive things that make no sense, and of outsiders who love each other and protect each other.
On a very personal level, a minus was the character of Blake, the vampire who begins a kind of a relationship with teen-aged human Jay. Granted, Blake was not meant to be nice, but he was so not nice that I kept wanting to stop reading. I loathed him. Still do. One of the most aggravating things about him was that Jay adored him, as if Blake's smug self-centeredness was attractive to him. This was, as it turns out, in keeping with Jay's character, but that kind of a relationship is no fun for me to read about, and it just gave Blake something else to be smug about. I really, really can't stand Blake, to the point that I think he is the reason I still haven't managed to finish the series. Even when I'm loving everything else that's going on, there's always the danger that the next page will feature Blake.