Title: “A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising”
Author: Raymond A. Villareal
Pages (hardcover): 432 pages
Original Publishing Date: 5 June 2018
Synopsis (from the inside flap):
“This panoramic fictional oral history begins with one small mystery: the body of a young woman found in an Arizona border town, presumed to be an illegal immigrant, disappears from the town morgue. To the young CDC investigator called in to consult with the local police, it’s an impossibility that threatens her understanding of medicine.
“Then, more bodies, dead from an inexplicable disease that solidified their blood, are brought to the morgue, only to also vanish. Soon, the U.S. government — and eventually, biomedical researchers, disgruntled lawmakers, and even an insurgent faction of the Catholic Church — must come to terms with what they’re too late to stop: an epidemic of vampirism that will sweep first the United States, and then the world.
“With heightened strength and beauty and a steady diet of fresh blood, these changed people, or “Gloamings,” rapidly rise to prominence in all aspects of modern society. Soon people are beginning to be “re-created,” willingly accepting the risk of death if their bodies can’t handle the transformation. As new communities of Gloamings arise, society is divided, and popular Gloaming sites come under threat from a secret terrorist organization. But when a charismatic businessman, recently turned, runs for political office, all hell breaks loose.
“Told from the perspective of key players, including a cynical FBI agent, and audacious campaign manager, and a war veteran turned nurse turned secret operative, A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising is an exhilarating, genre-bending debut that is as addictive as the power it describes.”
(known) Trigger/Content warnings for the novel:
- character death
(known) Representation in the novel:
(Since I DNF’d, I don’t really know all of the possible trigger/content warnings or representation)
DNF @ 258 pages out of 432 pages (60%)
I really, truly wanted to like this one. A debut epistolary novel about vampires’ rise in modern society? Full of practically every facet of society? It sounds so interesting!
And it was. The first portion of the novel followed a few different characters, mainly: Lauren, a CDC researcher who initially discovers the virus; John Reilly, a Catholic Priest and Jesuit; Hugo Zumthor, an FBI agent; and Joseph Borrera, a political strategist and campaigner. These points of view take the reader to different parts of society (biomedicine, religion, law enforcement, politics, etc.), and allows one to experience how the so-called “Gloamings” affect them. These perspectives are also supported by other things such as newspaper clippings, interviews, pages from academic journals, social media posts, etc.
In short, I thought I was going to love this book.
But…it fell short for me. Don’t get me wrong, the first half the book was great! I loved all of the different points of view, except for maybe the FBI agent. Not a fan of the whole “rugged and cynic agent-man” trope, to be honest. But I especially enjoyed the chapters with the campaigner; I thought his perspective/story with the Gloamings was really interesting. While I thought the CDC’s voice was annoying at times, her perspective was pretty intriguing, as well.
However, overall? The book eventually became…really boring. Which is weird: it’s a book about vampires! How can it possibly be boring? Well, when a good chunk of the book is going into science jargon, or law jargon, or religion jargon, it can get pretty dull. Don’t get me wrong, some parts of it, especially the chapter focused on a law journal that talked about protections of the Gloamings and the ADA was interesting. But there were quite a few times that I just glazed over what I was reading because I could barely tell what was happening.
It was odd because some parts of the book were so interesting, and things were happening, and I couldn’t get enough of it. And then there would be one or two chapters of boring, boring, blah blah blah. The pacing was really off sometimes, and I wasn’t a fan.
Along with that, the writing itself just seemed kind of…off, I suppose. Sometimes the dialogue seemed clunky, as if the novel should have gone through another round of editing before being published. And, speaking of clunky, I did not enjoy the footnotes throughout the novel. I’m not quite sure if they’re “supposed” to be so long, but for me, they disrupted my reading experience. They usually don’t bother me, but when they take up half a page…and don’t actually give me any interesting information…they kind of wasted my time.
I thing the biggest thing for me was, at least in the first half of the novel, there wasn’t as much information about Gloamings. Sure, the reader gets a few scraps of how they originated and that they are all murderous, untrustworthy, and egotistical, but…that’s about it. And it didn’t really satisfy me. For a book about vampires, there really wasn’t much about them.
Overall? It started out strong, but then, about halfway through, it got to be tedious and boring. Maybe others would like it better, but it turns out it just wasn’t for me.