Review: Vampire Beach #1 & 2 by Alex Duval (2006)

Vampire Beach 1 & 2 Vampire Beach: Bloodlust and Vampire Beach: Initiation by Alex Duval
Publication: Simon & Schuster (2007), Paperback, 381 pages / ISBN 9780760794968
Genre: Paranormal, Teen
Rating: 2/5 (for both)
Find @ Barnes & Noble
Challenges: 666 Horror/Paranormal Book Challenge (Vampires #3)
First sentence: Malibu. | “Hey, Freeman! Wait up!”

I got the two-books-in-one version, so I thought I’d review them together. I first spotted Vampire Beach on the shelf somewhere– well, how could I not, with that virulent orange cover? I didn’t buy it right away, and it looked, er, incredibly stupid. I went home first and checked out some reviews. Folks, they tricked me. I thought Vampire Beach might be a lol-fest but still a good read, and well. It’s not.

Summary from the back cover:

Jason Freeman is stoked when his family relocates to exclusive DeVere Heights, Malibu. The kids at his posh new high school are surprisingly friendly, and pretty soon Jason’s part of the in-crowd. He even gets to meet the hot-but-unattainable girl.

Then, the morning after one off-the-hook party, a girl washes up on the beach dead. There’s no explanation– except a suspicious bit mark on her body.

Now Jason has to admit that what you don’t want to know can hurt you. And when an old friend pays him a visit, they have no idea that they’re about to put themselves in mortal danger. Literally.

Okay, think of Vampire Beach as The O.C. but with vampires. Non-deadly vampires who sneak-suck blood out of you after plying you with alcohol and hints of popularity. It’s pretty tame, actually, and kinda boring. There’s some sniffs of more interesting things that could possibly be explored, but at least half the plot is spent on the “romance” between Jason and Hottie McVampire chick. It’s not much of a romance. It’s tame, and boring. Also, I didn’t like any of the characters except Adam, the film director wannabe who drops the bomb re: vampires in Malibu.

I’m not sure if it’s because Jason is such a typical teenage male or if he’s just not a good character. He’s obsessed with getting with girls, especially Hottie McVampire (okay, seriously, I can’t remember her name. It’s something supposedly “exotic” though– oh! Sienna! Ha!) and fitting in with the popular kids and having and adventure, or something. He doesn’t completely sell out, though, as he becomes friends with Adam, who’s not in the popular (aka Hottie McVampire and the McVampires) clique.

There a at least one weird plot-point that goes nowhere: something about a super expensive water that supposedly keeps you looking young. Three pages spent on that stuff, and then never again. What was the point, please?

Also, c’mon, all the weird stuff happening in Malibu that Jason notices but doesn’t think about? It’s obviously VAMPIRE STUFF. I spent the whole time going “It’s VAMPIRES. Vampires doing vampire-y thing in the vampire town! COME ON.” The word “vampires” wasn’t even mentioned until page 116. I mean, yeah, I suppose a normal person wouldn’t immediately think of vampires when they see a pale, sick dude go into the locker room with another dude, then comes out looking pink and healthy while the other dude looks pale and sick and yet HIGH, but unless Vampire Beach turned into Gay Vampire Beach, Jason being a little more involved with the plot would have been a good thing. Or SOMETHING.

I wouldn’t mind it if there was a Gay Vampire Beach, actually. It’d certainly be more interesting than this rancid fluff.

I thought the second book, Initiation, was, comparatively, much better than the first one. It had a more interesting plot, and now that Jason (and Adam) know about the vampires, there’s some lovely conflict between Jason and his McVampire. He wants her, but she’s not human. She wants him, but he’s freaked out she might go psycho and kill him. Also, Hottie McVampire already has a boyfriend (also a Hottie McVampire. I’ll call him Hottie Manpire.) and Jason isn’t down with the whole mackin’ on another dude’s chick. Which is fine by me; there’s enough “angst” in there already. No need to pile it on with more forbidden fruit metaphors.

Besides that, there’s some drama with Jason’s old friend, er, Ritalin Boy. Ritalin Boy swoops into town and messes things up, but I don’t think his subplot was used to it’s fullest potential. There could have been a lot more to it, I think. Not that I expected it to be any more melodramatic, but it seemed stunted. However, Ritalin Boy’s actions lead to a really fantastic “OMG!” moment that has the potential for some really good plot development later.

I will say that if I had been sitting on the beach, sipping margaritas and watching muscle-y men run around, I probably would have taken better to Vampire Beach. It is a very good beach book. I also do want to read the next book(s) for some reason; I just probably won’t buy them (at least not full-price). Especially not with the amount of punctuation errors I found! Sheesh.

Other reviews: Books4Ever | Chicklish | Simply Nerdy

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