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Radiant Shadows

The Vampire Underground

The Vampire Underground - Brian  Rowe The Vampire Underground reminded me of a b-movie horror flick, where you get moments of true fright, interlaced with moments of seemingly intentional comedy. It had twists and turns, not all of which seemed necessary, and provided me with a sometimes entertaining, if unusual, read.I absolutely loved all of the cult film references, though I did hate Ash's pretentious attitude towards modern-day remakes and his outright rage at seeing someone watching one of those remakes. I loved how spooky Rowe's vampires were, with their glowing red eyes and how they growled to introduce their presence, and I loved the atmosphere of Bodie Ghost Town - just the thought of a completely abandoned town was enough to give me the creeps (Silent Hill, anyone?).I did stumble across several continuity/plot hole issues, which definitely made me take pause. There was constant reference to the weather, and how it was snowing quite heavily, but somehow through all of the snow, the characters were able to distinguish between when a road turn from pavement to dirt. There are also several mentions of someone hitting the dirt, or dropping something in the dirt, or wiping the dirt of their clothing - and with each dirt reference, I was pulled out of the story as I wondered what had happened to all of the snow? I want to know how Ash made it past the barrier, when it took four people to move it in order for the van to squeak by. I also want to know how he managed to fend off four vampires on his own - but it's never touched on. I wanted Paul to explain something - anything! - about his kind of vampires or their folklore, but I got zilch. And for the entire book, the character's are constantly mentioning how cold it is - but once they make it out of the underground, stark naked, not one of them complains about facing the elements in their birthday suits.I didn't like any of the characters, as I found almost all of the actions were over-the-top. And that's why I'm getting the feeling that this had to be written like a parody of old horror flicks. For example, after watching their only vehicle burst in to flames, burning one of their classmates alive, Anaya's response is not to feel sorrow for her lost companion, or fear for their safety after being stranded in the middle of winter, but an overwhelming responsibility to finish their film for class. And this was a continuing theme! Instead of fearing for their lives, everyone was constantly worrying about getting a failing grade! Anaya's outbursts towards Brin had been annoying up until this point, but after her insistence that they finish what they started, I decided that it had to be an intentional ploy to lessen the horror of the vampires' attack. Adding to the character's embellished reactions was the fact that several horror flick cliches were used: an isolated location, check; extreme weather that restricts mobility, check; upon reaching isolated destination everyone realizes they have no cell service, check; one character feels like things aren't right but is ignored, check.The ending served to cement my rational, as upon return to their hometown, no one mentions going to the police and reporting the deaths of their classmates. In fact, they fear they'll be committed of perjury for their blatant lies about the events they managed to survive. So instead, they ignore all responsibility and simply head home to worry about what other homework was due the next day.I'm not even going to get started on Brin and Paul's....relationship? If seems that the ending foreshadowed a sequel, in which Brin would come to realize how important Paul was to her but after all of the Twilight trashing the book did, to even hint that it might try to do a human-vampire relationship is hypocritical at best.Had I read The Vampire Underground with the understanding that it was going to be like a b-movie, I might have enjoyed some of it's cornier moments. And I can see lots of people enjoying it, for those same moments. But I was expecting a dark and twisted horror story and instead, I got dark and twisted horror-like elements, with a side of cheese.Find this review, and more, on my blog Radiant Shadows