REVIEW: Peeps by Scott Westerfeld

REVIEW: Peeps by Scott WesterfeldPeeps (Peeps #1) by Scott Westerfeld
Published: Razorbill (2005), Paperback, 336pg
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy, Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal, Sci-fi, Urban Fantasy
Source: Bought


Last year as college freshman, narrator Cal was infected by exotic goth Morgan with a parasite that caused following girlfriends to become vampire-like ghouls he calls parasite-positives "Peeps". A carrier without symptoms, he hunts his progeny for the centuries old bureaucratic Night Watch. But victims are showing more sanity, pretty human Lacey is pushing his buttons, and her apartment building basement houses fierce hordes of ravening rats, red-eyed cats, and monstrous worms that threaten all. Morgan has the secret to a centuries-old conspiracy and upcoming battle to save the human race.

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I previously read Westerfeld’s Uglies trilogy and liked it enough to try out some of his other books. Peeps is about a guy named Cal who’s been infected with a parasite: vampirism. Unfortunately, he’s also infected some of his girlfriends, and he must now hunt them down and bring them back to the Night Watch– a secret organization dedicated to keeping the lid on this nasty Peep problem– for rehabilitation. But there’s something else going in New York besides vampires. There’s something living deep underground, beneath the subway and the sewers, and it’s waking up.

I thought Peeps had an interesting premise, but it wasn’t put together as well as the Uglies series was. There were some plot points that popped out of nowhere and seemed to go nowhere, or at least weren’t gone into any deeper than a few pages. Some of them, like the thing underground, I expect are further expanded in the sequel, but it would have been nicer if there was more explanation in this book. I think that Peeps could have actually used a few more chapters, which would have given it a bit more room to grow. The characters aren’t as vibrant or likable as they could have been; even Cal suffered a bit from (my) lack of empathic connection to him. (I also just didn’t really like him.) The writing itself wasn’t so bad, however, and I liked the connection between chapters about (non-vampire) parasites and the actual plot.

If you like books with a different take on vampires than the norm, I’d recommend checking Peeps out. It’s not spectacular, but it’s not bad either. I certainly plan on reading more of Westerfeld’s books.

Read: December 2008


  1. I’m just reading “Extras” now. I really like the Uglies series, but somehow the premise of “Peeps” has never really gotten me interested. I do think, though, that Scott Westerfeld is really good at taking things we’re nervous about today and apocalyptically dragging them out to their possible conclusions. I like his books, but I’m glad I don’t live in any of his worlds!

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