Title: Sunglasses After Dark (Sonja Blue #1)
Author: Nancy A. Collins
Publisher: White Wolf Games Studio
PublicationDate: 10th March 2000 (first published 1989)
Paperback: 372 pages
Genre: Horror

Reviewed by Zosia



RATING: 6/10

BOOK COVER SUMMARY:

A debut horror novel featuring a vampire, Sonja Blue, who escapes from a mental hospital leaving a trail of corpses in her wake. As we learn about her early life, we are taken on a nightmarish tour of a world inhabited by other types of non-humans – ogres, zombies and, of course, vampires.

REVIEW:

If you like your vampires sparkly and vegetarian, you’re going to be in for a shock. Nancy A Collins’ vampires have a demon in them that makes them kill and enjoy it, always craving more. Sonja Blue’s transformation – or ‘birth’ as a vampire – takes place when she’s sixteen and it’s brutal; Collins writes sex and bloodlust as going hand in hand. Sonja reaches vampire maturity, is immortalised at twenty-three, and when we first meet her she is in a straightjacket in a mental asylum where her demon invades the perverted dreams of the other patients.

First published a couple of decades ago and reprinted a few times since, this was a solid start (and a good debut novel) to a creepy series, and it holds up well today. The references here and there to the Vietnam War and the fancy video cassette technology had me a little bemused, but it had no direct effect on the story.

This book pretty much covers the entire spectrum of disturbing ideas and situations, so if you’re planning on reading it and are easily upset by…well…anything, be prepared.

Every author in this genre puts their own stamp on vampirism, and I happen to think Collins’ version is very good. Her strength is in her story rather than her writing; there were too many point of view and tense changes for the ideas to be pulled off perfectly, but the need to know what happened and why kept me turning the pages.

Sunglasses After Dark suffers from a touch of ‘first bookitis’ where the author has to devote quite a bit of time to setting up the world and telling us how Sonja got to be where she is. Luckily I thought the world-building was good and Collins’ take on how the supernatural operate interesting.

However, Collins has a tendency to make the most interesting parts of her characters’ stories things that happened in the past. The way they became who they are is more interesting than what is happening in the present. She does a good job of not making her information dumps annoying or boring, but they’re still information dumps. I do plan to continue reading the series, and I’m hoping for an improvement in this area in the next book.

VERDICT:

This is a very dark horror book with death and gore galore. There are some very good ideas in this story, and the series looks like it has potential. It is not perfectly-written, and there are some confusing parts where the author jumps all over the place, but I thought the dark, confused world Collins created was good.

SOURCE: This book is from Zosia’s personal library.

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You can find out more about the author here:

Zosia

Zosia lives in Canberra, the capital of Australia – hours from a beach. She pretty much reads whatever she can get my hands on. Authors she's read and loved include romantic suspense writers Cindy Gerard, Pamela Clare, Christy Reece, Laura Griffin, Suzanne Brockmann, Tara Janzen and Kaylea Cross. Favourite paranormal writers include Lara Adrian, Jeaniene Frost and Patricia Briggs. She also recently discovered and loved Lisa Kleypas and Gaelen Foley’s historical stories, and JD Robb’s futuristic crime books. [Zosia no longer reviews for BCC]

8 Comments


Book Chick City November 8, 2010 at 5:26 am

I love horror and this sounds just up my street! I can't wait for your review of book two – if you think the series gets better I will definitely pick it up, but I will hold off for now as I have so many other series on my shelves to read first I don't want to add another and then find out it's not that great lol. Thanks for the review Zosia!

Reply

Zosia November 8, 2010 at 6:57 am

I tried to be sensible and finish the series I was reading before starting another one…but that didn't exactly work out!

Reply

cj'alhafiz November 8, 2010 at 9:03 am

Wow, sounds creepy! I always want to try horror. Maybe i should try this one. Thanks for sharing BBC..=)

CJ @ Coffee N Crackers

Reply

Laura Summers November 8, 2010 at 2:47 pm

This does look very dark and interesting.
I too will look forward to your review of the second one :-)

Reply

Zosia November 8, 2010 at 3:45 pm

I heard about this series on Charlaine Harris' website a few years ago. I figure she knows a good series when she sees one!

Reply

Midnyte Reader November 8, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Excellent review. This sounds like something I would like.

Reply

Zosia November 9, 2010 at 1:22 am

Thanks Midnyte Reader. It's definitely very different to most vampire books I've read in recent times!

Reply

James R. Tuck Dark Urban Fantasy Author December 18, 2011 at 6:39 am

I didn't see this when it was posted, so sorry about the late comment.

I LOVE SONJA BLUE!

I do I do I do. So much so that I gave her a shout out in my book. Pick up this series…it is awesome.

Reply

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