“I didn’t expect beauty. I didn’t expect magic. I didn’t expect love,” the Vampire Girl book trailer says. I didn’t expect any of that and to be honest, I didn’t really expect that good a book. (And you know what I means—some of the best-selling vampire books out there are barely readable.) But Vampire Girl by Karpov Kinrade (a husband/wife writing team) kept coming up on my “Also Purchased” and “Recommended” reading lists so I finally took the hint and bought the book.
And wow. Just … wow.
Vampire Girl is a great read. The writers have given us a wonderfully relatable heroine, a blue collar girl who dreams of being a lawyer and works in a diner and worries about paying the bills. She lives in Portland, Oregon and her life is filled with friends, including her best friend, a transwoman whose boyfriend has a bit of the second sight. The book is written in a cinematic style with cliff-hangers ending each chapter and mysteries that pull us through to the next bit.
Arianna “Ari” Spero (her last name means “hope”) is beautiful in a very particular way and the writers give us an early clue to one of the book’s big revelations. Not only does she live in a world where diners can be thrown out of the place she works if they’re rude to the servers (Shari, who owns the place takes a DIM view of such rudeness) but she also lives in a world where people literally make deals with the devil and mirrors are portals to hell.
Karpov Kinrade has done a lot of world-building in this first book, clearly with their eyes on the franchise prize. That’s a good thing because it gives this book a depth and a richness you usually don’t see, especially in the first of a series. There are definitely more adventures to come with Ari and Fen and Asher, the two diabolical brothers whose fates are bound up with hers. I can’t wait to read them. (And fortunately I don’t have to because I’m coming to this series late and there are already a number of sequels.)