Vlad the World's Worst Vampire by Anna Wilson and Kathryn Durst
|Vlad the World's Worst Vampire by Anna Wilson and Kathryn Durst|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A slightly simplistic series opener, but one with enough heft and drama by the end to draw you back for more.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 160||Date: September 2017|
|Publisher: Stripes Publishing|
|External links: Author's website|
Meet Vlad. He's a vampire. You know the type, the characters that live practically the opposite to us – at night and not by day, in the dark and not the light, drinking fresh blood as opposed to making black pudding out of it first. But Vlad is not like one of those, for he can't fly, can't remember his roots that his family are teaching him, and can't turn into a bat. He also – shock, horror – is interested in the world of the humans, having turned away from monster stories that give him daymares and found a novel about human school life. This, then, is the drama that unfolds when he does break away from the spooky nocturnal world even he finds scary, and takes himself and his pet bat off to the world of the human child.
That summary included a clue as to how this book starts off in a simple fashion – the very word daymare. People use my badness when we would say my goodness, and so on. You get the gist – the script simply inverts everything we use to make a vampire equivalent, and names characters as if the Addams Family used all the good ones up. The story of Vlad's first day in school, with a fabulous and spunky new human girl companion, is a little on the average side, too, being a little too simplistic.
But before long you do see the book for what it is – and just about enough high drama and emotional worry for Vlad comes to the page. The book is clearly setting up a series – it certainly felt that way from about the third chapter – and so this volume does suffer a little in having to lay everything out and set everything up for longer, more substantial or less simplistic stories in future. But it also manages to just about provide all a stand-alone would fit in, with the chance of Vlad being caught by the humans, becoming a better vampire, and/or suffering in punishment if his parents found out, all being possible plots for him. He's a welcome character, being a vampire for a very young audience, and so is Minxie his new friend for her affirmative, decisive mindset. I have a slight quibble about giving this book a very high rating still, however, as I'd need to see how the series developed before marking this down as a complete success. But the author's varied pedigree and the simple pleasures contained herein don't make me predict a failure – quite the, er, opposite in fact.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
Fans who enjoyed ParaNorman by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel – in either book or movie form – would enjoy this series.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Vlad the World's Worst Vampire by Anna Wilson and Kathryn Durst at Amazon.com.
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