“ Genre: Junior Book / Author: Tim O'Rourke / Kindle Edition / Publication Date: 2011 „
Vampire Shift follows twenty year old Kiera Hudson as she is posted to the remote town of The Ragged Cove, fresh out of police academy. Kiera is left frustrated, when she quickly discovers that her new colleagues, and supervisors, on The Ragged Cove's tiny police force don't seem too interested in investigating the series of horrific murders, grave desecration's and missing persons within the small community.
Kiera realises that someone is following her, and then is soon attacked by what seems to be a vampire, but no-one will believe her. Unnerved by the attack, superstitious locals, the attitudes of her fellow police officers and her shadowy stalker, as well as being isolated from help and her friends, Kiera is left to uncover the secrets over what is happening in The Ragged Cove with little help.
But not only is she up against possible vampires, she also learns that her police officer Mum's disappearance may be related to the strange goings on...
Amazon kept recommending Vampire Shift to me, but I ignored it for ages because it was listed under YA, and being a fast reader, I didn't feel that it would be worth spending money on. When I finally caved in and bought it [all of the customer reviews were 5 stars, so that swung it] and found that I did really enjoy it...
Vampire Shift is told from Keira's POV, so it's fortunate that she makes for a very likeable heroine. She isn't a coward, but she doesn't wander around putting herself in a endless loop of dangerous situations and she knows when to back the hell away. She isn't anyones doormat, but she realises that sometimes she'll be better off keeping silent. In other words she doesn't irritate me by being a dumb, horror movie-like bimbo, whilst still having vulnerabilities to go with her backbone, so you'll never be sure that she'll walk away from the incoming disaster in one piece.
Having said that; naturally - for the genre - Kiera still isn't quite your average twenty year old police recruit. She has the ability to do what she calls 'seeing'; she has unusually sharp observational skills/photographic memory, admittedly a huge help in her chosen career. This makes why she joined the police even more reasonable, then the idea of Kiera being on a single-handed mission to track down her missing mother. However special, or gifted, heroines are a dime a dozen nowadays, so there is a been-there-done-that feel to things.
Kiera manages to squeeze in a bit of romance with fellow officer Luke Bishop, so if you like romantic angles in your books, the author has you covered. I don't mind a bit of romance in my non-romance books - as long as it doesn't start to distract from the main story and, I always go on about this I know, as long as we can avoid the usual cliques, e.g. love triangles. I do like the general romantic subplot in general, but I admit that I do find Luke a bit boring. He looks hot, he says the right things all of the time, be is so brave, caring, blah, blah, blah. There's nothing bad, it's just personally I find his perfection a bit boring.
I find the character of Potter much more interesting; he doesn't like Kiera's work policies, or her 'weird' seeing ability, so spends most of the book insulting her and making her job harder, but he's funny and unpredictable and keeps things lively. Another memorable character for conflict is Murphy - the Sargent. He's friendly and caring, but is also too laid back and if push came to shove, he'd side with Potter over Kiera, so readers bounce between "aww" and "eww" with him.
I think that Vampire Shift successfully straddles the line between a young adult and adult book; it makes the sense of tension, confusion, stress and danger seem real. I mean if I was in the characters shoes I wouldn't be all "gosh" and, I'd like to think, not running around like a dainty, but headless, chicken. The times have changed from my Point Horror book days, for sure - if they'd have had swearing, sex and not have skipped over the murders, blood and gore, I'd have enjoyed them a hell of a lot more.
The plot mixes drama, horror, action, mystery and romance together successfully, and the book is less then 200 pages long, so it makes a fast, engaging read - perfect for a lazy afternoon or a train/plane journey.
VAMPIRE SHIFT does lose a star because Kiera's 'seeing' ability does mean that she comes of as a bit too competent for a 20 year old, who is just out of the police academy on her first placement. I know that I'm reading a book about vampires, but her 'seeing' abilities just don't seem realistic for an inexperienced police constable AND, like I mentioned above, 'gifted' heroines are a dime a dozen.
However, her abilities seem to desert her when it comes to one of the bad guys; I instantly put 2 + 2 together, but one of them skips past her suspicions. Also; parts of the plot in general are easy to piece together, so readers may join the dots together before Kiera does, which is a bit frustrating.
[We are eight books into the series and so far every one of them has been priced under £2. Much better value then buying magazines]
A month or so ago I had a bit of money left on my Amazon gift card, so was looking for something cheap to read and decided to try Vampire Wake. That was it; I couldn't put it down and read it within five hours and immediately went back on Amazon to buy the rest of the books. What changed? Well I suppose the fact that the rest of the books all lead straight into one another [except Wolf House of course] and have cliff hangers helps. So I do recommend sticking to the series, so far things have only gotten better.
The reading order for the series is as follows:
1) Vampire Shift
2) Vampire Wake
3) Vampire Hunt
4) Vampire Breed
4.5) Wolf House
5) Vampire Hollows
1) Dead Flesh
1.5) Dead Night
2) Dead Angels [30th June]