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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Review: Saltwater Vampires by Kirsty Eagar

Release Date: August 30, 2010
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Genre: Vampires
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 372
Source: Penguin Australia

Blurb (from Penguin Australia)

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.

The Quickie Review

Saltwater Vampires is a highly addictive vampire novel which will suck you in from the very beginning (pardon the pun).

The Full Blown Review

I have been patiently waiting for a book like Saltwater Vampires - with real vampires - to enter the YA vampire genre, finally it has arrived! Now you may be wondering what I mean when I say real vampires, well when I say real vampires I mean the evil, nasty looking bloodsuckers of yester years none of this oh so sparkly, beautiful and noble vampires that seem to have inundated the market lately. It appears that somewhere along the line vampires in novels changed from being these frightening evil creatures to being these beautiful caring creatures. I for one prefer the former, I like my vampires menacing and nasty and boy does Kirsty Eagar deliver, these vampires gave me the creeps!

Saltwater Vampires beings with a bang, the year is 1629 and the Batavia has crashed off the Australian coast, it soon becomes apparent that four of those that survived the shipwreck are planning on undertaking something very dark and evil. Skip ahead to the present day and we are introduced to Jamie, a 15 year old surfer who is not dealing with an accident that occurred four months ago which involved Jamie and one of his best friends, Dale. I don’t want to give too much away but it becomes apparent very quickly that something strange is going on in Rocky Head. What follows is a non stop suspense filled ride where Jamie and his friends must work together to save not only themselves but their whole town from the vampires because they are coming and they have a plan.

From the moment I read the prologue I was engrossed. As a reader we are not 100% sure of who or what exactly the four shipwreck survivors are so I was eager to discover more of their back story which is elaborated on further as the book progresses. I especially loved how the prologue ended leaving me on edge and a little creeped out

“They made their circle of blood. And only the moon witnessed the slaughter that followed.” - Page 12

Jamie was a relatable character, Kirsty did an excellent job describing the swell of emotions he was going through and boy he was having to deal with some difficult issues. I find that I generally enjoy a book much more when I feel something for the characters and I really felt for Jamie. He was beating himself up for the accident that happened with Dale when in reality it wasn’t his fault, I really wanted to tell him this but I had to remind myself that Jamie is not an actual person he is only a character in a book. Whilst I have never experienced the things Dale endured (absent mother, distant father) I still was able to feel for him as a character too.

I have decided I wouldn’t mind having Jamie’s friends - Tanner, Kelly, Talia and Willem - as friends. All of these characters were willing to sacrifice themselves in order to help both Jamie and Dale which is an excellent quality to find in a friend. Tanner was a relaxed surfer, nothing seemed to phase him except maybe getting stuck in a campervan waiting for vampires to turn up, who wouldn’t get scared! Kelly, a talented surfer, was a bit prickly and aloof at first but I soon softened towards her once I found out the reason as to why she was so prickly. Then we have Talia the new girl in town who takes a liking to both Tanner and Jamie, who’s not afraid to speak her mind especially in situations when she probably shouldn’t. Finally we have Willem, he was a bit of an odd ball but was a wealth of information on vampires (very helpful), I don’t know what it was but there was something about Willem I found endearing.

Kirsty managed to surprise me in this novel, I thought I knew a character and then all of a sudden they did something that I was not expecting at all. There was one particular action a character took that I did not expect, maybe I’m a bit na├»ve or trusting but I didn’t see that coming.

I also have to mention that I loved the setting for the novel, I could picture Rocky Head so clearly in my head especially because it reminded me of the coastal town we stayed in when I was younger where we used to go camping near the beach for holidays.

Towards the end of the novel the suspense builds until the final confrontation occurs between the vampires and the teens and what a confrontation is was!

The only real issue I had was when Jamie and Tanner were informed that vampires exist by Willem. Now I know this is only a story and vampires aren’t real (obviously) but both Jamie and Tanner just accepted that vampires must be real, there was no real skepticism, if it was me I’d be very skeptical I’d probably ask them what are you on? All this was a little too convenient for me, I would have liked for them to show a bit more uncertainty but like I said it’s only a minor quibble.


4.5 out of 5


Kirsty’s debut novel Raw Blue was released last year whilst I haven’t read it yet (I plan to though) I did read an excellent review by Nomes over at Inkcrush, so why not check it out? Simply click HERE.


Nomes said...

oh - you did such a good job reviewing this! and it's such a sophisticated and talented piece of work that I dont even know where to begin with my review (which is why, ah, I havent written one yet...)

i was creeped out too (in the best of ways) and really loved the characters and the settings as well.

and, as usual, am so proud of the aussie writing talent! a brilliant book and I'm so hoping it does well internationally.

and thanks for the shout out! Raw Blue - how I love that book!

Danielle Zappavigna said...

Great review - this book sounds fantastic, something really different from the romantic and sparkly (which I don't hate-don't get me wrong), kind of like a mix of old school the lost boys and 30 days of night. Can't wait to read this!

Unknown said...

I have a friend who would adore this book. She often tells me that it is an abomination that vampires have turned sparkly. She would love a return to the legends of old. It sounds like a really great book actually. Thanks for the super review.

The Know-it-all said...

The Know-it-all has awarded you the 'One Lovely Blog' Award! Details here: Congrats! ~The Know-it-all

Sue Bursztynski said...

Haven't read this one yet, though I probably will - I think I bought a copy for my library late last term. Thing is, the teenage girls LIKE their vampires gorgeous and sparkly. It's the romance, you see. I use this to get some of them on to Gothic romance novels - classic ones, I mean, like "Jane Eyre" - after they've finished with the noble vampires. And sometimes, just sometimes, they do agree that they've had enough of the sympathetic vampires and ask for "Dracula", which is not difficult reading. And it goes on from there. Mind you, some folk have played for sympathy even with Dracula. :-(

Not Quite Human said...

Wow! Great review. You've got me wanting to read it now :)

I'm putting it on my "To Read List"!


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Romy @
Greetings fellow blog readers, welcome to my blog and thank you for stopping by. Now you may be wondering who is Well is also known as Romy, a 23 year old graduate student from Australia who loves to read. I read (maybe devour would be a more appropriate word) largely young adult novels, with a particular love of fantasy and paranormal novels, however I am also a sucker for a good romance.
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