A Different Kind of Girlfriend – Christopher Pope

This is not a traditional vampire book. And I mean that in a good way.

The vampires themselves aren’t the sparkly, overtly sexual creatures that has become so much the norm. They also aren’t the ugly, malicious creatures of Bram Stoker or Nosferatu. While there are some characters that are classically evil, the ‘good’ characters have plenty of flaws and don’t always operate in squeaky-clean ways. The underlying premise is interesting and I enjoy books that are realistically grey in their presentation of motives and actions. Sometimes questionable things are done for good reasons.

The ‘hero’ of the story is Rayner who has been raised since childhood to become a vampire hunter working for the shadowy and clandestine Sect. The second most important male character is Lloyd, a maverick American member of the same organisation. To be honest, I much preferred Lloyd, but both characters are well drawn.

Our heroine, Miriam, is introduced gradually and we continue to learn things about her throughout the story. She’s an interesting character with a lot of different sides to her – literally. I don’t want to give any more spoilers than the blurb already contains so won’t say more.

After an initial prologue, the beginning of the book is fast-paced. Characters and events are introduced who will be important to the way the story develops and we see the hidden world and how it operates. My attention was caught and I wanted to read more.

On the downside, it’s quite a long book and there are flabby sections. For my taste, there is a little too much angst and soul-searching. But the action sequences are well-written and came often enough to keep me reading. And most scenes with Lloyd pick up the pace nicely. The ending neatly sets things up for a potential sequel, but is also good closure on the story of Rayner and Miriam.

I believe this is the first work by this author, and the reading experience would benefit from weeding out a few stylistic ticks, but it’s a strong debut that deserves four stars.

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