American Vampire by Jennifer Armintrout
Publisher: MIRA (March 2011)
Review galley courtesy of netGalley
Buried in the Heartland is a town that no one enters or leaves. Graf McDonald somehow becomes its first visitor in more than five years…and he was only looking for a good party. Unfortunately, Penance, Ohio, is not that place. And after having been isolated for so long, they do not like strangers at all.
Jessa’s the only one to even remotely trust him, and she’s desperate for the kind of protection that only a vampire like Graf can provide. Supplies are low, the locals are ornery for a sacrifice and there’s a monster more powerful than Graf lurking in the woods. New men are hard to come by in this lonesome town, and this handsome stranger might be Jessa’s only hope for salvation.
Even if she has to die first…
Graf the vampire is driving to a sure-to-be hot 4th of July party in D.C. when he finds himself in teeny Penance, Ohio, protecting a woman, Jessa, that is hiding out in an abandoned gas station. After saving her from an unknown creature, he realizes that he’d better find shelter soon or he will be trapped outside at sunup. Graf realizes he has made a wrong turn, to say the least, when Jessa explains that no one has been able to enter or leave Penance for the last 5 years and during that time, the town has constantly been terrorized by a monster they simply call “It”.
This is my first novel by Jennifer Armintrout, and for me, it was just mildly enjoyable. Graf, frankly, was an obnoxious, rude, heel for most of the story, lording his vampirism (aka superiority) over Jessa nearly the whole time. However Graf was quite funny, and some of his internal asides made me laugh out loud, such as, when he thought Jessa might be insane and “he didn’t eat crazy.” Jessa, in spite of the strength that a resentful town has given her by labeling her the town whore, wore a little thin with her constant “I do what I have to in order to survive” lectures, but, as the book progressed, I found I liked her more and more. The monster, for me, just wasn’t scary enough, however, I enjoyed the exploration of small town mindset and how a society can implode on itself if given a situation in which people feel like they have no hope. I also enjoyed the romance between Jessa and Graf. This book is probably what I would call a “snack”. Not great, certainly not bad, just ok: an enjoyable diversion between more meaty subject matter.
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