I’m totally not into vampire movies and vampire stories. The whole “Twilight” craze? I’m clueless and I really don’t care. It just isn’t my thing at all. When Robert Fuller (Robert S. Fuller Jr.) approached me about reading and reviewing his lesbian themed book, Valerie: Daughter of the Dragon, for this blog, after reading the book description, I was extremely skeptical. I expressed to him that “I’m not a big fan of vampires”. Robert sent me a note in response and one of the things he said was:
“I understand your hesitation towards the whole vampire genre, but as you delve into Valerie, you’ll discover that much of the vampire theme is used as a metaphor. Characters are changing and losing their way. The vampire represents danger along the path on their journey of self-discovery.”
That sounded reasonable and I agreed to read it. Shortly thereafter a 730 page (!, yes really) tome arrived in my mailbox. I spent several hours over 3 days reading about Valeska, an undead vampire known to the human world as Valerie and her human love interest Sam (Samantha). Now, quite frankly, to me, parts of this are “very vampire” in nature and they left me cold in a non-vampire loving person sort of way. If you like the genre, you’ll probably like those scenes best or maybe you’ll even find them to be not graphic enough for you. I have no basis for comparison to say how accurate or how “realistic” they are.
The vampire specific stuff aside, I found this to be an entertaining story. It is quite lengthy though in a way that it really doesn’t have to be. There’s much, much build up to one big event for example, a fashion show with Nightingale fashions, Valeries Gothic clothing company, only to have, after 100s of pages, little description of the show beyond everyone getting dressed for it. I question so much great descriptive build up without a satisfying conclusion.
That brings me to my final point; I have to say that after 700+ pages of build up to an overall book climax and the resulting high expectations on my part, I was very disappointed in the ending. Throughout the book there was lots of suspense leading up to what I was hoping to be a battle royale of undead good (Valerie) versus undead evil (her fathers brother and niece) but, instead, I got a cowering villainess (the niece) and, yes, a tragic ending but more of the romantic tragedy variety than a war between the worlds variety. As I understand it, there’s potentially a sequel in the works. I hope Fuller can reverse the ending and somehow right this wrong.
There’s definitely writing talent here. Being fair; not considering my dislike of the genre, I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5. It’s really a good overall read. It loses one full star for what I personally felt was a cop-out ending and a half of a star for taking 730 pages to get to the cop out.