Book Review: Saltwater Vampires

Posted December 17, 2015 by Kara in book review, Kara / 2 Comments

Book Review: Saltwater VampiresSaltwater Vampires by Kirsty Eagar
Published by Penguin Books on August 30th 2010
Genres: young adult, paranormal
Pages: 372
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon

He looked to the sky, praying for rain, a downpour, some sign from the heavens that he should refuse the abomination contained in that flask. But all he saw was the bloated white face of the moon smiling down on him …
And the sky around it was cold and clear and black …
They made their circle of blood. And only the moon witnessed the slaughter that followed.
For Jamie Mackie, summer holidays in the coastal town of Rocky Head mean surfing, making money, and good times at the local music festival. But this year, vampires are on the festival’s line-up … fulfilling a pact made on the wreck of the Batavia, four hundred years ago. If their plans succeed, nobody in Rocky Head will survive to see out the new year.
Page-turning and suspenseful, Saltwater Vampires is a distinctly Australian vampire thriller.

I debated whether or not to write a review for this book. But after looking at the reviews on Goodreads and seeing that the rating is pretty average, I decided to add my two cents. Because this is a fantastic book and it has not gotten enough praise!

I know we all might be tired of vampires. For me, personally, I can never get enough of them. I’m waiting for them to be the trend in YA again so I can gobble all the books up! I don’t know what it is about vampires: the mystery, the immortality, the different imaginings, the horror, the sensuality–but whatever it is, it fascinates me. I love seeing the way different authors twist vampire myth to suit their needs.

And Saltwater Vampires was no exception. In fact, it just could be one of the best vampire reimaginings I have ever picked up. I wish I had read it sooner. People have been raving about Kirsty Eager’s books for so long, and I should be ashamed it took me this long to get to it. And I only picked it up because I needed it for a Story Sprites square!

The vampires in this book are horrible, vile creatures. There is no romanticism here. It is flat-out horror with a twist. I don’t know about you, but I friggin LOVE alternate history books rewritten as paranormal events. If you look up the Batavia sinking, it’s horrible and gory enough. But to rewrite the bad guys as vampires, that just takes it to another level. And then to put them in modern day Australia at a music festival where they are killing backpackers and plotting to do something horrible, plus you add surfing, a little bit of angst, and a vivid setting, and you have the makings of a FANTASTIC novel. I cannot recommend it enough.

Also great? The characterizations. I complain about characterizations often, and I do believe it’s the weakest writing skill for most writers. It’s incredibly difficult to give characters enough personality, enough voice to make them jump off the page. But here, amidst all the horror and creepy shit going down, there was some great stuff: interpersonal relationships, a little bit of angsty romance (just a tad), the ups and down of friendships, and very realistic reactions to what would happen if one of your very best friends was gradually changing into a vampire. There’s just so much going on, but it never feels cluttered or messy.

Kirsty Eager’s writing is superb. She handles the action scenes well, bringing them to life and keeping them moving swiftly. And the way she writes surfing is something else. I could almost feel the ocean, the salt, the spray on my face. Some of the terms were a little confusing to me, but it didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the novel at all. The climax of the novel is incredibly well done, and the book is brought to an end in a satisfying way.

My only complaints? A little bit of predictability regarding a certain character. Obvious foreshadowing was obvious. And I just lacked a little bit of an emotional connection to the story and characters. But again, that’s a very personal thing, and all things considered, it is an epic, creepy, thriller that I couldn’t put down.

It’s time to pick up more of Kirsty Eager’s books.



2 responses to “Book Review: Saltwater Vampires

  1. I don’t know what it is, but I also still like books about vampires (at least, if they bring something. I don’t care for the Sparkly ones from a series I will not mention :p) The bloody, gory and scary vampires are what I’m looking for and it seems this book delivers just that. I might check it out!
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