Monday, September 6, 2010

Saltwater Vampires by Kirsty Eagar

He looked to the sky, praying for rain, a downpour, some sign from the heavens that he should refuse the abomination contained in that flask. But all he saw was the bloated white face of the moon smiling down on him … 

And the sky around it was cold and clear and black … 

They made their circle of blood. And only the moon witnessed the slaughter that followed. 

For Jamie Mackie, summer holidays in the coastal town of Rocky Head mean surfing, making money, and good times at the local music festival. But this year, vampires are on the festival’s line-up … fulfilling a pact made on the wreck of the Batavia, four hundred years ago. If their plans succeed, nobody in Rocky Head will survive to see out the new year. 

Page-turning and suspenseful, Saltwater Vampires is a distinctly Australian vampire thriller. 

After being floored by Raw Blue, Kirsty Eagar became my newest must-read author. And, also, how good is the trailer for Saltwater Vampires? I snatched up a copy as soon as I saw it shelved.

Saltwater Vampires has a hugely ambitious and sophisticated plot - there's three story-lines that blend together: the shipwreck and blood pact made on the Batavia (400 years earlier), a gathering of powerful freaky-guys in Amsterdam and Jamie and his mates kicking back surfing in Rocky Head, Australia.

What I loved about this book is it's unique blend of rich prose and suspense-filled plot. It's got this laid-back Aussie pace that manages to buzz with an exhilarating, suspense-filled plot. My reading experience was similar to Raw Blue: a contradiction - I was tearing through the pages and at the same time pausing at moments to re-read sentences and soak up the magic in the prose.

Jamie and his mates are not your usual heroes or vampire slayers. They're these loveable, freaked-out, wide-eyed and brave teens: flawed and crushed, hopeful and resilient. They're mates who watch each others backs as well as let each other down and these contractions are so well drawn that the characters breathe on their own and worked their way into my heart. Eagar is a master of showing and readers are drawn into the richness of her characters and maybe have to work a little to see all the shades and complexities in the Aussie gang (consisting of three guys and two girls - whose history  includes crushes, betrayals, guilt, relationship complications and a recent horrific accident in the ocean).

The vampires from the Batavia wreck are seriously freaky creatures of the night. Ugly and evil and the stuff made of nightmares. Powerful and relentless and their desire for blood and sadistic plans of mass feasting gave me chills. The horror factor clawed at my belly - in a wide-eyed, can't-look-away, creeped-out manner.

Just like the power of the outback setting in Lucy Christopher's Stolen, Eagar evokes similar sensations with the ocean. It's churning and powerful and compelling and lurking with hidden horrors. The ocean and the bush and music festival were used to advantage to add to the creepy undertones and Australian authenticity.

I haven't seen many thrillers of this outstanding calibre in the YA scene. Also, the male POV - spot on in a way that made me ache for it's authenticity.

It's a dark, spine-tingling read but not without it's moments of laid-back humour and some heart-felt relationship drama that added some levity. Also, how much did the last page just make me grin? It left me with a sense of loving these guys.

Two quotes I loved:

  • Aw, bugger it. Don't die wondering. 17. I love Jamie :)
  • I love this sentiment: Jamie's eyes met hers and recognition passed between them. He wondered if that was how it was going to be for the rest of their lives. They'd talk as if they were just two people who used to hang out, but all the time their eyes would be saying, I know you well and I miss you badly. 304.

9 comments:

  1. Oh I am so jealous. I first saw the trailer for Saltwater Vampires and featured it on my Terrific Thursday trailers. Ever since I have been anxious to get my hands on it. Sadly, it is not available yet.

    Love your review, which makes me even more anxious to get my hands on it. Thinking too that I really need to get Raw Blue while I am at it.

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  2. I love thrillers and I'm a sucker for vampires (bad pun, I'm sorry. But it had to be said :P), so this sounds like my kind of read! I love male POVs as well. Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the review!

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  3. Oh - I really cant wait for this book to come out in the states! It sounds seriously brilliant - I love the idea of an Aussie vampire thriller and your review makes me ache for it! Good job :)

    Natasha

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  4. This. Sounds. Awesome. A vampire book where the vampires are actually scary!! Imagine that! I'll have to get this one for the freak factor alone.

    btw - I think you're turning me into an aussie - I've read so many australian books this year. Just finished Stolen and it was suh-weet!!

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  5. I love that you chose favorite sentences to share with us! How special, makes me want to read it even more!!!

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  6. The trailer is so freaking terrific, isn't it? As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to read it! Waiting for my copy now..

    The cover's just way creepy, though..

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  7. This sounds just like my kind of book. :)

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  8. I second Angie.

    I am so glad I read this blog and that you have shared all these fantastic AUSSIE authors.

    Thanks!

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  9. This looks amazing. I'm definitely going to have to check it out!

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Thanks for the commenty love :)

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