Vampire General (Book one of the Intern with a Vampire series)
By: Kit Iwasaki
Genre: Paranormal Medical Drama (I think I just made that genre up, btw :) )
Pub Date: April 13, 2011
Coffee Beans: 4/5
Favorite Line: A man vomited blood on the floor behind them, then tried to sneak a bottle of Jack Daniels from his jacket to wash out his mouth.(ebook, pg 6)
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for this honest review.
Author's Summary: Human medicine is easy. On her first day at Grace General Hospital, new intern Aline Harman risks vampire infection, vivisection, and having her heart torn out of her chest… and this from her colleagues.
Juggling transhuman politics only becomes more difficult when a patient's life is at stake. With a zombie to resuscitate and a mermaid in critical care, Aline has her hands full. At least the doctors are good-looking.
This book only took me about a day and a half to read through because it's well-written, creative, and fast-paced. It also helps that the book is only around 32,000 words (about a quarter the length of what I usually read), so I consider this book more of a novella than a novel. Which isn't a bad thing at all, though I generally like my books a little longer so I have more of a story to get into and more of the characters to get involved and attached to.
Kit Iwasaki is a talented writer who knows how to involve her reader in a fast-paced, clean story with interesting characters. The setting is ideal: an ER full of transhumant patients, urgency and tension, attractive doctors, potentially dangerous co-workers, and a whole set of rules the main character, Aline, is learning how to play by. In the short amount of time we're given, Iwaski does a pretty impressive job of showing us who the characters are and giving us a bit of a story to get attached to. Her previous experience being a premed student comes in handy to make everything in the book believable.
So, if it's a good story, good characters, and great writing, why the 4 stars instead of something higher?
I think that with everything Kit gives the reader, there's an awesome potential of there being so much more available for the reader. As it is, there's not much time for Kit to make sure we connect and understand her characters on more than just a surface level. We see how they react to a situation, but we don't understand, on a deeper level, why they do what they do. For example, when Aline finds out about this whole paranormal world, we don't get much of a reaction from her, which I can't help but feel a bit cheated about.
I also felt there were broken promises for romantic possibilities between Aline and a couple characters. I know leaving the romances unresolved leaves openings for other books (which there are), but there was such an intense and immediate build up between Aline and the other characters and it was washed away with a fire hose as soon as it caught fire. It felt a bit like a broken promise or at the very least being a tease.
The last thing I found a bit disappointing was the depth of the plot. Yes, Aline gets dumped into a pretty weird work situation, but to me, that isn't enough, I kept waiting for the larger, main plotline to come into play, more than just what her night was like at this transhuman hospital, but I didn't feel like it was ever delivered. There were several hints to one, so I know it's there, I just have a feeling the author's waiting to unveil it throughout her other books, which I'm not a fan of. Maybe a larger, connecting plot that threads through the series, but each book needs to have its own standalone plot that carries it.
Overall, it was a very good book. Engaging, fast-paced, well-written. The few issues I had were a direct result of the book being so short. I have no doubt, that if it were a regular length novel, none of my points would have remained issues. But, in the end, it really comes down to making your reader want to read more, and if you've done that, you've succeeded in one of the main goals of being an author, which Kit nailed. :) I'll purchase the second book in the series, Slash and Burn, when it comes out (Summer 2012, GoodReads says), to see what happens with Cassie and what—if anything—happens between Aline and a couple certain coworkers. I only hope the second book's a little longer than the first so it gives me something more to sink my teeth into.
Pick it up and check it out for yourself, it's only $0.99 over at Smashwords, and if you're a sucker for a good vampire book and good writing like I am, you'll enjoy this story.
Happy reading, my friends!