Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cannonball Read Entry #6: Bloodsucking Fiends - Christopher Moore

Saying that Bloodsucking Fiends is the best vampire novel of the past twenty years is a bit like saying that a cupcake is more delicious than a piece of poo; Sure, by it's perfectly great by its own merit, but considering that the competition consists of pieces of shit...Well, that's just a gimme isn't it?

The story starts with Jody Stroud, the comely red-headed protagonist, being pulled off the street (literally), bitten a vampire, then waking up the following night under a dumpster unscathed. Well, unscathed as long as you don't count that she now has super strengh, super senses, $70,000 stuffed down her shirt, a hankering for blood and a charbroiled arm. But really, who hasn't been there? From there, Jody copes with her new vampiric abilities, clashes with the Big Bad who turned her, and finds a boyfriend/minion in the form of C. Thomas Flood, a nerdy struggling author.

Right out of the gate, Moore earns brownie points for staying relatively true to the vampire mythos while simultaneously taking the piss out of it. The vampires in Fiends don't spend all their time talking about their feelings, drinking synthetic blood or (God help me) sparkling in the sunlight. Jody drinks blood, fucks Tommy stupid, turns to mist, nearly burns herself to a crisp and scales a building without every crying out "SOOKIE!"

Although blessedly, Moore still writes her as a sympathetic character. She realizes that while her status as nouveau-vamp gives her great power, she has no one to share it with. And while she drinks blood, she only goes after those that are dying and ready for death, constantly reigning in the id-like vampire side of herself.

As much as I love Christopher Moore's writing style, you can't help but notice that Moore himself loves it too. In fact, perhaps a little too much. At times, his prose takes a turn for the borderline masturbatory, as he lapses into non-sequitor jokes that don't fit in quite as well as they should, and scenarios that feel a bit like wish-fulfillment.

And while Tommy is a perfectly likeable character, you can't help but wonder if every room he walks into has a serious gas leak. He's charming and funny and all, but over the course of the story he manages to pull of some mind-numbingly bone-headed moves. At one point during the story, I wondered when the hell they would drop the "Dorky but lovable guy gets insanely hot chick" routine and maybe mix it up with an "Awkward stand-in for the female authour gets the hot guy" vampire book. But then I realized that they already did, and it was called Twilight, and it was fucking awful.

It might not be the most sparkling (ha) recommendation ever, but you really should read Bloodsucking Fiends by the virtue that it's not Twilight, and that it's actually a pretty enjoyable book. Next time you see some poor, unfortunate tweener reading Twilight, by all means, feel free to yank the book out of their tiny, tiny hands, bitchslap them a couple of times and replace it with Fiends. They'll thank you later.


Tracer Bullet said...

Yeah, that's about how I felt about it. It ain't Shakespere, but it's a fun read.

ScienceGeek said...

I have a secret love for the 'Undead and...' series by MaryJanice Davidson. Similar premise (except the main character gets mowed down by a car and wakes up the queen of the vampires, oh, and her love interest is a fellow vampire), and lots of hilarious mocking of the genre. But it's pure chick lit, complete with shoe obsession, hence the secrecy of my love.

Still, I think I'll be checking this one out.

Jeremy Feist said...

Tracer Bullet: I think he's one of those writers who gets better as he goes along.

ScienceGeek: What in the what? I may honestly have to give that one a looksie.

meaux said...

Jeremy, how did I only notice this now? I only just read this one. Until recently, it was the only Moore book I hadn't read, and I'd been putting it off simply because I'm very much NOT into vampires. However, You Suck was pretty enjoyable, so I figured this would be too. Sure enough, I did enjoy it, as did my husband who's lukewarm on Christopher Moore but is fond of vampires. (I know, but he does have lots of good qualities.)

I read somewhere that Moore's next book is going to be yet another in this series. Eh, I'd rather see another in the vein of A Dirty Job, or (and I know I'm in the minority here) Fluke, but ah well.

Oh, and regarding the previous post, nice ass there, mister! *cougar whistle*

dsbs said...

My intro to Moore was Dirty Job, which I still think is one of the best books I've ever read. Unfortunately, none his other stuff that I've read since has matched it, for various reasons, but the main one is like you said - he really finds himself funny, and the writing is often way too self-conscious for my tastes. Oh well. Fun read indeed.