Love kickass vampires that don’t sparkle? Love hideously infected zombie humans? Love apocalypses set in London? Then you must check out this fantastic novel which chews up all three in a fast moving, involving story. We were instantly interested in the heroine, Britannia (formerly Brianna), who has made it her unlife’s mission to wipe out any new spawn belonging to her hated sire. Her routine of dispatch and relax is soon disrupted by events that could be directed by Danny Boyle, and her personal hatreds must be pushed aside if anyone is going to come out of London alive, or even aliveish.
Bad Blood was hugely enjoyable, and we devoured it far too soon. While we had a few reservations about Britannia’s immediate ability to empathise with humans, these were minor quibbles. She’s also stubbornly stuck with a personality honed in the punk era, and has gleefully sloughed off the corset and refined ladyness of centuries past. Staying on this theme, quite a lot of the book focuses on the state of the protagonists’ clothes, which makes sense as they’re constantly getting into scraps with monsters. This naturally requires wardrobe replacements, and allows for several humorous breathers away from horror. Also, Britannia doesn’t quite come across as a three hundred year old vampire to – perhaps because she’s not really all that detached – but this is also one of her character’s strengths. Surpassing the urban fantasy tropes of blue hair and pop culture references, Britannia is a refreshingly well drawn and adult vampire character who manages to be enjoyably snarky, rather than channelling her inner teenage sarcasm or constantly overreacting.
This is the first novel we’ve read by Nicky Peacock, and we enjoyed it enormously. We look forward to chewing through the sequels. If you want a fast moving, fairly original vampire novel with bite, then you could do a great deal worse than join up with Britannia and following her fight against Bad Blood and beyond.
And don’t forget to come back tomorrow, when The Haunted Eyeball interviews Nicky Peacock herself! (Thursday 27 June 2013)