[Camestros] So hi to everybody. This is me Camestros Felapton (a name so terrible that its very utterance causes some people to shudder) and with me is Timothy the Talking Cat.
[Camestros] Hi Tim. It has been awhile since we’ve done this – if memory serves me right I vowed never to do it again. What was it you reviewed last time?
[Timothy] The Hot Equations by Ken Burnside – I didn’t like it.
[Camestros] Noted but to your credit, the Ken Burnside himself did stop by and leave a comment. He didn’t seem to cross with you.
[Timothy] People like cats – people tend to be very forgiving of cats.
[Camestros] Noted. So what book do you have today?
[Timothy] Well, today I have with me Honor at Stake by Declan Finn. A tale of love and vampires in modern New York.
[Camestros] And why this book in particular?
[Timothy] Well I was reading twitter and there was this tweet with a graph that showed it was really doing well in the Sad Puppy 4 lists.
[Camestros] The graph from my blog?
[Timothy] Your blog? I don’t think so, this was some sort of SadPuppy4 twitter account.
[Camestros] They tweeted my graph. Do you not even read this blog?
[Timothy] Good grief, no. I mean your very name offends me.
[Camestros] Ok, putting feline disloyalty aside, can you tell me more about Honor at Stake.
[Timothy] Well there is this really cool and super clever guy called Marco Catalano, who is super-broody and who wore an army uniform at school.
[Camestros] Super-broody hey? So I’m guessing he is the vampire and a beautiful woman falls in love with him?
[Timothy] HA! NO! You like, totally fell for the bait-and-switch in the prologue were he emerges from an alley after brutally killing a mugger and has blood on his mouth!
[Camestros] So he isn’t a vampire but he is a bit psychotic.
[Timothy] I think he is meant to be a psychopath but a good psychopath.
[Camestros] So the vampires are baddies then and he fights them? No vampire/human love twist?
[Timothy] He fights like he is playing 3D chess.
[Camestros] Wow, that must be impressive writing to convey that idea. How does the writer create that impression?
[Timothy] Well the author writes down words that say something like ‘he fights like he is playing 3D chess’.
[Camestros] Slowly and following pointlessly confusing rules?
[Timothy] Sarcasm is one of your least likable features. To return to your question – yes, there is a vampire love interest.
[Camestros] Tell me more, what is he like?
[Camestros] The vampire love interest.
[Timothy] It is a she. Her name is Amanda Colt and she is a Russian Catholic vampire and over a hundred year old.
[Camestros] Are you sure she is Russian? That doesn’t sound like a very Russian name and I’d have thought she’d be Russian Orthodox rather than Catholic.
[Timothy] Absolutely sure she is Russian. She says ‘da’ and ‘yet’ and pronounces ‘crazy’ like cray-zee.
[Camestros] She pronounces ‘crazy’ like ‘crazy’?
[Timothy] Like ‘cray-zee’.
[Camestros] That is exactly how you are supposed to pronounce ‘crazy’.
[Timothy] Well you talk funny.
[Camestros] I talk properly.
[Timothy] You sound like a bad impression of Wallace and Gromit. Both of them at once.
[Camestros] Gromit doesn’t say anything. Oh never mind. So sexy Russian Catholic vampire…
[Timothy] Very sexy. She wears tight jeans that are surprisingly snug.
[Camestros] They must be very tight then.
[Timothy] Not too tight. This is quite a chaste book.
[Timothy] Sure. Don’t you hate how people just tumble into bed at the drop of a hat these days?
[Camestros] So Marco and Amanda don’t have sex?
[Timothy] No, he decides they should just be friends because he is like SO deep and maybe too scary if only she knew him properly. He is like so scary that he has two street gangs working for him.
[Camestros] Two street gangs.
[Timothy] The tigers and the dragons – just like the movie.
[Camestros] The movie?
[Timothy] Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
[Camestros] That is a movie set in a fantasy version of ancient China that revolves around the theft of a magical sword. It isn’t about street gangs.
[Timothy] Oh. I haven’t seen it – they just mention that movie everytime they mention the names of the street gangs.
[Camestros] And are the street gang vampires?
[Timothy] No but they end up fighting the vampires because the vampires are trying to kill them.
[Camestros] OK, this sounds promising. Why are the vampires trying to kill the street gangs?
[Timothy] Um. I’m not sure. There is a big baddy vampire and he was up to something. Actually I don’t think it ever explains what the big baddy vampire is up to.
[Camestros] So the sexy love interest vampire – she is conflicted about this? A bit of a Romeo & Vamp-Juliet thing going on?
[Timothy] No, no. She is a good vampire and a good Catholic girl. She goes to mass and everything.
[Camestros] So crucifix don’t work on vampires then?
[Timothy] No, you see the book has this all worked out. Vampires can be good or bad and the more good you are the nicer you look and the less things like holy water and sunlight affect you. The more bad you are the more hideous you become and the more holy water hurts,
[Camestros] OK so the bad vampires are like regular vampires.
[Timothy] Yup – a bit like the ones in Buffy.
[Camestros] Let me guess – the author explains this by comparing them to the vampires in Buffy?
[Timothy] Exactly! Quality writing – explains things up front so you know what is going on.
[Camestros] So this guy leads these street gangs and this good vampire falls in love with him and they fight a bad guy vampire.
[Timothy] Well leading street gangs is more of an occasional hobby for Marco – his dad is a doctor and he is studying. He is super clever and has a mind like a computer.
[Camestros] Would I be right in thinking that we discover that he has a mind like a computer from when the author says ‘he has a mind like a computer’?
[Timothy] Have you read this book too?
[Camestros] No…I just guessed…
[Timothy] So the street gangs, and Marco’s police buddies and the Vatican ninjas…
[Camestros] The what?
[Timothy] The Vatican has vampire hunting ninjas.
[Camestros] Is this book actually a parody? I note Declan Finn has written some parodies.
[Timothy] Um, OK I haven’t considered that. I didn’t notice any actual jokes.
[Camestros] So, sexy but good Russian Vampire, clever psychopath, street gangs, police & Vatican ninjas fight the vampires?
[Timothy] Yes! And a sort of FBI guy who is a cross between Fox Mulder and Harry Dresden.
[Camestros] OK, that sounds like an interesting character.
[Timothy] He just sort of pops up nearer the end of the book. He looks Asian and he has a scary brother who might be evil.
[Camestros] Sooooo, sexy but good Russian Vampire, clever psychopath, street gangs, police, Vatican ninjas and a spooky sort-of FBI guy fight the vampires?
[Timothy] Yes! And they WIN!
[Camestros] Hooray? You see I can’t help picture It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World…
[Timothy] Also there is something about Kofi Annan and the Iraqi oil-for food program.
[Camestros] I shan’t ask. What else should we note?
[Timothy] Vampires don’t sparkle.
[Camestros] Are they supposed to sparkle?
[Timothy] Well they do in the Twilight books.
[Camestros] OK, well remind me not to read those books but I don’t see what this has to do with the book we are looking at.
[Timothy] well unlike the crappy vampires in Twilight these vampires don’t sparkle at all.
[Camestros] OK, I get that but…
[Timothy] Let me explain that again – the vampires DO NOT sparkle because they aren’t like the Twilight books.
[Camestros] You get that Twilight is well past its peak for cultural referencing?
[Timothy] NO SPARKLES!!!!!!!!
[Camestros] I knew this was a bad idea – you are getting over excited.
[Timothy] NO SPARKLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO SPARKLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO SPARKLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO SPARKLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO SPARKLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO SPARKLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!