Slights by Kaaron Warren
Angry Robot (Aug 2010)
Paperback, 528 pages
Slights is narrated by Stevie who starts her tale with the fatality of her mother, a fatality which she indirectly causes driving her mother home after a boozy lunch. The story is told from Stevie’s POV and we learn of her past as she reminisces while carrying on with her life following the death of her mother. As we learn about her past we are introduced to the people in Steve’s life including her family, oddball neighbours and school mates.
Stevie believes that her mother preferred her brother over her and therefore focuses her adoration on her father that died a few years previously. While her father can do no wrong her mother and brother are taunted or ignored in equal measure. Steve is truly unlikeable and not just mean but cruel to nearly everyone around her, apart from her father. The scenes switch quickly between past and present and you had to keep on your toes or risk getting lost or confused. In the start I quite liked this writing style as it was unique and chapters didn’t just focus on one period of her life but rather flipped around between past and present.
For me Slights falls into a very small category of books – one that I couldn’t finish. I can count on one hand the number of books I wasn’t able to finish reading and this is one of them. I made several attempts to get past the halfway point of the book but found that I was dreading having to continue with it. I could not reconcile how unlikeable Stevie was to everyone around her without provocation or justification. I have read other books where the lead character was unlikeable but in Steve’s case I found there was nothing redeeming or interesting about her to keep my attention.
The temptation of finding how she became a serial killer or what happened to her when she died was overridden by my extreme dislike for her. I think I was expecting Dexter but for me Stevie was a boring Hannibal Lector. I did like the original way in which Warren told Stevie’s story just not the character she created. If you however, you are a big fan of horror then I recommend giving Slights a try as you may find yourself more tolerant of Stevie’s more unlikeable qualities.
Unfortunately, I found that I couldn’t finish Slights even though it had the promise to be a really chilling tale. The writing style was unique, as was the overall premise but it suffered from a lead character so truly unlikeable that I found I couldn’t finish it.
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After 145 pages and 9 chapters I decided that Blood Therapy wasn’t for me. It’s not that the book was awful, but just that I wasn’t connecting with the characters, and when I found myself putting off reading, I decided it was time to move on.
The crux of the problem was that Kismet started to drive me a little bonkers. She seems to make some quite strange choices and at the same time unable to make a decision. In The Vampire Shrink we see saw her fall in love with Devereux, and completely change her life and her business as a consequence. Now, two months on, she’s seriously questioning her decision. Should she have set up a vampire Psychologist business after only knowing Devereux for a matter of weeks? The realisation that vampires are in fact scary predators, has her worrying about her choices.
Then there’s Devereux, I’m not sure where the sexy enigma has gone to. Instead he’s been replaced with a controlling, slightly unhinged and definitely un-sexy hero. With Kismet wondering if she’s staying in the relationship because she’s in love, or because he may be the only person who can keep her safe. Which kind of killed the chemistry for me.
I also didn’t really buy into the potential love triangle in The Vampire Shrink with Alan the FBI agent, but also it seemed to come to nothing by the end of the novel, with Alan ended up dating someone else. But in Blood Therapy it’s introduced again, maybe if I had continued reading it would have changed my opinion, but I’m not completely convinced it works.
On a positive note, I did enjoy the tongue-in-cheek twist discovery that certain Hollywood actors were in vampires. I also believe the vampire psychologist element of the story has lots of potential. I just didn’t like how the author was developing the main characters.
Just to reiterate this book really isn’t awful, I probably could have chugged through it, and it very well may have redeemed itself. But I have so many books I want to read at the moment that I am being stricter! I ran hot and cold with Kismet in The Vampire Shrink but found myself running very cold with her in this book. The love story fell flat and I didn’t like the element of control and fear introduced between Kismet and Devereux, so I decided the story was not for me.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
- The Vampire Shrink
- Blood Therapy
- Dark Harvest
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