Thursday, May 29, 2008

Book Review: Eternal Vigilance: From Deep Within the Earth

We all know the vampire subgenre has gotten a little stale and hokey. It seems that everyone is creating shallow vampire characters that serve as little more than coat hangers for the gothic clothes and opulent lifestyles that their writers hang on them. A vampire story with strong characters and a storyline that involves more than bodice-ripping and throat-slashing seems hard to find nowadays…which is why it was such a pleasure to be so enthralled by our very own Gabrielle Faust’s Eternal Vigilance: From Deep Within the Earth. Faust takes the time to develop her characters, both vampires and humans, and to also create a post-apocalyptic story that is as entrancing as it is terrifying!

Tynan, a vampire that is many centuries old, awakens from a hundred year sleep to discover the world has been ravaged by many years of war. A technologically advanced organization called The Tyst now rules the world with an iron fist and its highly sophisticated artificial intelligence. The only resistance against The Tyst is the Phuree, a group of nomadic warriors that plan on stopping The Tyst’s evil plans. For, you see, The Tyst has learned that vampires exist and seek knowledge from an ancient and horrifying vampire god that would make them immortal. Tynan must help The Phuree to stop The Tyst from fulfilling their nefarious scheme to save both vampires and humans alike…and ultimately save the world he is so bitter over.

That is an extremely rough and shallow synopsis of a novel that delves deep into characters, motivations and backgrounds. To write a proper synopsis that covers the many events of the novel would take much more room than I have! Faust is thorough and comprehensive in her approach, covering Tynan’s back story as well as other characters’ without ever slowing the story down. She gives us a crystal-clear picture of what life is like after the Tyst takeover, describing the crowded and smelly market places in the city overrun by Tyst surveillance as well as the remote and dusty nomadic camp of the Phuree. Her poetic descriptions paint a vivid picture of both characters and settings as well as letting us delve deeply into Tynan’s mind.

The most commendable aspect of the novel are the well-drawn characters. The story is told from Tynan’s perspective, but Faust fills her story with many other well-rounded and memorable characters. There’s Tynan’s beautiful human lover, Jasmine, his vampire creator/enemy Phelan, and the strong-willed Phuree leaders, among many others! The characters are so exquisitely developed and have so much depth that you can’t wait to read the next page to see what they do next. Everything rings true with the characters, especially the philosophical and strong-willed Tynan.

The story itself is engaging. Faust has an elegantly poetic way with words, elevating the story of survival to a romantic level. The ugliness of the stark, post-apocalyptic world is in sharp contrast to the refined prose that graces the pages of Eternal Vigilance. Don’t confuse “refined” with “stuffy,” though, because the novel moves at a fast pace, catching you up in the story and refusing to let go even when the novel ends, leaving you thirsty for the next installment of Eternal Vigilance.

With her first installment of Eternal Vigilance, Faust has opened the vein to a new and exciting vampire mythology and I can’t wait for what blood-red prose she spills for us next!

Available from Amazon!

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