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I Belong


Review: A Vampire Christmas Carol by Sarah Gray

TitleA Vampire Christmas Carol

Author: Sarah Gray

Genre: Historical/Paranormal

Series: N/A

Publication Date: September 27, 2011

Format: Paperback, 352 Pages

ISBN-10: 0758266839 (Kensington)

ISBN-13: 978-0758266835 (Kensington)

Reviewed by: Kiwi

Synopsis:

Ebenezer Scrooge has never been known for the greatness of his heart. A miser, a leech, a penny-pinching old coot… Say what you will about him, though—he’s never actually sucked someone’s blood.

That dubious honor belongs to the vampires who surround him, preying on the weak and laying traps for the strong. They’ve dogged his footsteps since he was born, driving him from the love of his friends, family, and faithful fiancée.

Now, on Christmas Eve, Scrooge’s old friend Jacob Marley rises from the grave to warn him about the evil gathering around him. With three mysterious spirits to guide him, he rediscovers his lost love Belle, toiling fearlessly as a seamstress by day and vampire hunter by night. He sees the secrets of his nephew Fred and his clerk Bob Cratchit, who risk their lives as Belle’s loyal soldiers. And he learns of the plot mounting to attack all of them, starting with the innocent sacrifice of Bob’s son Tiny Tim…

Scrooge has only one night to save himself and all that he once treasured—but if he can vanquish the vampires, he might finally earn back the love he cast away..

Quick & Dirty: An old favorite with a new twist

Opening SentenceMarley was dead to begin with.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

For this piece, I won’t give you a complete run down of the hero or heroine, because I am going to assume that the three of you have already met.  That’s right, as in the classic A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens; we follow the life and times of one Ebenezer Scrooge, and all his associates and family members.

Ok, so a lot of the characters and events here are the same as the other stories. Scrooge still starts out all cranky and miserly and downright nasty. Scrooge still employs Bob Cratchit, who still has a family including Tiny Tim. Ebenezer’s nephew Fred also appears. Mr. Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his deceased partner, Jacob Marley, and by three spirits, Christmas Past, Present and Future. And afterwards, he is reborn nice and friendly and generous. And as a reader, I was happy to get on with the part where he becomes a changed man.

There are also some very notable differences. We get to spend much more time with his past love, Belle. Belle, bless her heart, has never given up hope for the return of the man she once knew, and as thus has never married in this version. We also get to see more of the current lives of Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim and Ebenezer’s nephew Fred.

Also, in this here book, there has been one very large plot twist added. Scrooge’s London is being overrun with creatures of a paranormal nature. Vampires. Vampires? Dickens with Vampires, you say?!?! Why yes, and I’ll be darned if the story isn’t that much better with them. And here’s why…

I like it because it gives me a more concrete reason why Scrooge is so… well, Scrooge-y.

I like it because it gives Bob and Tiny Tim and Fred some more importance in the world.

I like it because it makes the woman of the story strong and independent.

And well, I like it because there are vampires in it.

We are introduced to The King and Queen of Vampires, Wahltraud and Griselda, and their army of vampires. We find out that vampires in this world have slaves they call minions, who like vampires, ingest human blood and thus become sensitive to sunlight. Scrooge has even unknowingly hired one of them, a Mr. Disgut. There is also rumor of some prophecy concerning Scrooge’s offspring, (that’s right, offspring) and the downfall of all vampires. I won’t tell you more, because that would need a spoiler alert.

Well, forgive me my ignorance, for it has been quite a few years since I have read the original, but I hazard to say that Ms. Gray sticks pretty close to the classic Dickens version of the story, (at least to the Jim Carey movie version I just saw not too long ago) with the notable exception of those pesky vampires and their minions. Now for all those with bittersweet memories of being forced to read good old Chuck’s handy work in all its non-vampirish glory, this story might not be for you. And then again, it might. Though, I have to say, as a teen, I would have been much more excited about reading this version, cause vampires are just that much cooler J Where was this my freshman year?

Notable Scene:

Griselda squealed with delight and threw her arms around her husband, embracing him close. “And so Ebenezer Scrooge is ours?” she begged, looking up at her walking-dead husband in eager anticipation. This project, tedious in time and effort, had taken nearly a full human lifetime. But it would all be worthwhile for Wahltraud and Griselda if Scrooge went the way of Marley. In fact, it would be better, for they had great plans for this human.

Wahltraud brought his lips to Griselda’s and they kissed. Then nipped like pups at play. She was the first to draw blood, he the first to howl with pleasure. “Tell me all,” she cried. “Have we the cellars, my precious? Have you gained them for me?”

You see, Wahltraud and Griselda were not wine purveyors, Prussian brewers, or even ordinary English citizens. Unbeknownst to Scrooge and most of London, they were not even human. Wahltraud was the undisputed King of Vampires, Griselda his crowned queen, and Scrooge her pet project which had kept her busy the last half-century. But, how could Scrooge have known? How could anyone have known? You might say if Scrooge had scrutinized his situation with more care, he might have realized that the events played out in his life up to this day were not of his own making. But, again, I get ahead of myself.

Back to Marley…Dead as a door-nail.

FTC Advisory: Kensington provided me with a copy of A Vampire Christmas Carol.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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