Monday, 26 January 2009

The Bride - D. E. Athkins

What can I say? D.E.Athkins more than lived up to her name, The Bride is a jaw-droppingly fabulous piece of art. It was more like reading an episode of a trashy 90s soap opera than a Point Horror, and for that, D.E.Athkins, I salute you.

Jamie is our lead character, and there really isn’t much to say about her past the fact that she lives in a small town (Point Harbour. Which is kind of distracting to keep reading, give how similar it sounds to Point Horror) and her cousin is Blaine Harrod, hell raising ex-wild child supermodel extraordinaire. Already this book rocks so hard it hurts. The opening scene is Blaine stabbing a fellow supermodel (Alison) through the hand with a letter opener. On a photo shoot. And the photographer is all , “this is fabulous, darlings, we'll sell millions. Millions I tell you! Bwa ha hah ha.” Maybe I’ll send Tyra a copy of this book, I think ANTM could really benefit from a bit more bloodshed, a sprinkling of Battle Royale if you will.

Anyway, Blaine is getting married to Pres Alden, upper crust playboy socialite, in the wedding of the year and Jamie is gonna be a bridesmaid. The wedding’s being held in this big posh hotel just outside of Point Harbour and Jamie gets there a couple of days early so she can p.a.r.t.y. The other bridesmaids include Alison (the supermodel who Blaine stabbed in the opening scene, and who she supposedly has a feud with), Kelly (another supermodel), Pres’s bitchy (but in a fun way) little rich girl sister whose name I forget, and Patricia, Pres’s ice queen ex-fiancee and first cousin (ick) who hates hates hates Blaine with a passion for stealing her man. Ummm, what the fuck. By my counting, Blaine has at least two people she hates acting as bridesmaids for her. I guess that’s just how supermodels roll.

The other characters of note are Clara, who’s Blaine’s PA, and Drew, Kelly’s little brother who’s a totally buff hunk and is Jamie’s love interest. Although Jamie also has the hots for Pres, even though he’s this gross sleazy old man. She’s always like admonishing herself for being a pervert because whenever she sees Pres she starts imaging him naked and stuff. Hands off Jamie, he’s Blaine’s! Here’s a little example of the kind of prose that made me fall in love so deeply with this book. Blaine notices Jamie and Pres flirting and she gives them a supermodel death stare: “At that moment, Blaine had never looked more beautiful. Or more deadly.” Be still, my beating heart.

Later, in her hotel room, Jamie sees…a mirror ghost! Any book that includes a mirror ghost gets an instant thumbs up from me. This mirror ghost is a weeping BRIDE ghost, holding a bunch of roses, and she starts climbing out the mirror. Aaaaarrrghhh! Oh, and the roses kind of glow, and the ghost drops these glowing roses out of the mirror! I’ll repeat: this book includes glowing ghost roses. Now that's what I call classy.

Naturally, Jamie freaks out and runs out of her room, and ends up in Alison and Kelly’s room. Alison is totally a bitch, but in a fun kind of snidey way and you can just tell that she actually has a heart of gold beating beneath her beautiful supermodel exterior.

Kelly tells the story of the ghost bride – years ago, when the hotel was a house, the owner’s daughter fell in love with a gardener in charge of the rose gardens. When her mum found out she paid the gardener to leave and arranged for her daughter to marry some other dude. The daughter died of a broken heart, and was found still wearing her wedding dress. Oh, and the daughter’s name was ROSE (overkill much on the rose thing.) Alison is more sceptical, and she convinces Jamie that she was probably just dreaming.

Kelly and Alison take pity on Jamie and lend her a super swish outfit so she’ll fit in at the glamorous party that evening: “velvet pants and a cropped cashmere top woven with sparkling thread.” Oh, and “an elastic rhinestone bracelet.” What the fuck?

Before the party, they have to get through a boring old wedding rehearsal. Which is livened up considerably when a bunch of dead doves rain start raining down on everyone from a canopy above (they had planned to release live doves as part of the super glamorous supermodel ceremony, natch.)

Apparently, the poor little birdies were all smothered. Is it an accident?? Or is somebody after Blaine??!! Shhrriiiieeek. Hey, Blaine – maybe you shouldn’t have let any of your mortal enemies be your bridesmaids. Just an idea.

Later, at the party in the ballroom, Patricia acts like a total tool and makes all these digs about Blaine just marrying Pres for his money. Poor deluded Patricia is blates still in love with Pres and would take him back in a heartbeat. Let it go honey, he’s a total dog!

Drew ends up taking Jamie to a secret hidden alcove overlooking the ballroom. They kiss, obviously. And then a fire starts. They decide to wait the fire out in their alcove rather than bothering to escape. Nice move guys. And THEN suddenly the ghost bride appears, hovering over another balcony: “a shimmering figure high above the crowd, hovering there like a flaming angel.” Everyone’s like 'aaaaahhh a ghost bride!' And suddenly the fire goes away or something.

Jamie hangs out in Alison and Kelly’s room later. Jamie is surprised to see Allison wearing “plaid flannel pj’s and fuzzy scuffs.” Anyone know what fuzzy scuffs are? I’m pretty curious here. Kelly decides that the ghost bride has definitely come back to haunt Blaine’s wedding. I’ll be pretty happy if there’s some elaborate Scooby Doo style explanation for this ghost. I’m thinking there must be, since nobody seems that nervous about being haunted.

Jamie lists through all the suspects who may want to sabotage the wedding(basically all the bridesmaids) all you need to know is, they all sorta have reasons for maybe wanting to get revenge on Blaine. Jamie even considers the possibility of Blaine staging all this stuff herself in order to get more publicity.

Jamie sneaks into the ballroom in the middle of the night to do some ghostbustin’ . She goes to the top level of the ballroom and finds the box that the ghost appeared to be floating in, inside the box is… Drew. He also wanted to catch a ghost and had fallen asleep, without finding any clues.

At breakfast, Patricia arrives, bringing with her her usual bitchily cool demeanour and a newspaper bearing the headline "Hot, Haunted Wedding.” Weird headline huh. But the point is that the wedding’s getting loads of publicity.

Oh, and bbs, you just have to know what Patricia’s wearing: “a skin-tight silver unitard, over which she'd pulled a pair of navy compression shorts with silver stripes down the side. Over it all she was wearing a silver and navy supplex jacket. Compression shorts?? Supplex?? Fuzzy scuffs??? Oh baby, I love it when you talk nonsense to me.

Jamie visits the hotel gym and finds a hot tub on a terrace and is all relaxed when Pres creeps up and asks to join her. He’s really flirty and gross, I did a little sick on this page of the book and now it stinks of vomit. So Jamie removes herself to the sauna and Pres follows her. Jeez, give it a rest old man, she’s not interested ok. The sauna door gets stuck and they get trapped in there together. Arrrrrgghhhhh! They both start sweating even more and panicking loads, like aarrrrgghhh we’re going to die!!!! Jamie starts acting all loopy, and I think we're meant to think that’s she’s in mortal danger and Pres is all like noooooo, I wont die this way! Anything but death by sauna! So undignified.

Luckily, Blaine finds them in the nick of time. Blaine’s all angry and she says that when she got there, the door opened easily and wasn’t stuck at all.

Later, Jamie gets a call on the hotel phone. Its Blaine and she’s like "come meet me at the hotel entrance and don’t tell anyone." Blaine drives up, nearly running Jamie over in the process, and she’s all, get in the car. Which is a gleaming black Porsche, naturally. This is the 90s, baby! And we’re jiving with supermodels!

Jamie can tell that Blaine is in the mood for trouble, but she’s kinda excited by that. Me too! Blaine drives them back to Point Harbour and they go to a deserted pier. A Mercedes turns up at the pier. Inside it is Patricia, Pres and Alison, they followed Blaine because they were kind of worried about where she was going. Patricia wasn’t worried about Blaine, she just loves following Pres around. Good move, guys love it when you follow them everywhere like some kind of demented psychopath, trust me, I know what I’m talking about here.

Pres gets all angry with Blaine for running out of the party. Blaine starts yelling at Pres, all this nonsense about life and death and truth and lies and not going through with the wedding, blah blah, Jamie thinks it looks like Blaine is trying to pick a fight with him. They make up,and end up all driving back in the Mercedes together, with Alison alone in the Porsche.

Alison drives ahead of them, super fast and risky. Of course, she drives the Porsche off a cliff and it catches on fire. Ka-BOOM! Buh Bye, Alison!

Eventually, after calling the police and everything I guess, they arrive back at the hotel. Patricia speculates to Jamie that maybe it wasn’t an accident, that Alison wanted to die – because they didn’t see the brake lights and there were no skid marks. Patricia says that Alison may have been suicidal because she loved Pres once too. Gasp!

The wedding is going ahead anyway, and Blaine gets sent a package that makes her react thusly:

“’Noo!’ sobbed Blaine. She turned, flailing like a madwoman out of control. She grabbed a lamp and hurled it against the far wall of the bedroom, She pushed over the table it was standing on.”

That’s a little example of why I fucking love this book. The whole thing's written like this, it’s amazing, it’s like a rollercoaster ride….for my brain.

The picture Blaine freaked over is the one from the photo shoot at the beginning where Blaine stabbed Alison with the letter opener, except the figure of Blaine is all singed and scorched, and someone’s written IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN YOU on it.

Clara tells them that there’s a police detective at the hotel, here to question people after the wedding because it would seem that Alison’s crash wasn’t an accident but the brakes had been tampered with. Presumably meaning that the accident was meant to happen to Blaine, since it was Blaine’s Porsche.

Kelly arrives at Jamie’s room, begging to get ready there as she can’t cope with all the memories in the room that she had been sharing with Alison. Kelly tells Jamie that Blaine and Alison were really tight knit friends, like sisters, despite the apparent feuding between them which was mainly just for publicity. Hmm, I wouldn’t be too happy if someone stabbed me through the hand just for the publicity. Although there was a real feud between them for a while when Pres started dating Blaine after breaking up with Alison, but they apparently worked it out.

There are all these insanely brilliant dramatic interludes of the main characters/suspects getting ready for the wedding and acting like psychos. I just have to give you a flavour of this. Patricia gets a bit of lipstick on her hand, and:

“She looked down at the crimson gash the lipstick had made across the back of her hand.
At the crimson gash it had made from the corner of her mouth.
‘here comes the bride” she hummed softly, and went back to work on her face.”

It totally reminds me of that bit in Cape Fear where the mum is just randomly putting make up on in the darkened room and it's super creepy.

Eventually, everyone’s ready, and Blaine’s all done up in her wedding dress , although sadly, there isn’t a description of the dress beyond the fact that “the train of her gown spread out like a lacy sea behind her.” So I assume that it’s fabulous.

The ceremony goes ahead, and then they get to the bit where the minister asks for any objections, and right at that moment a wind sweeps though the hall, the doors slam shut and candles go out. The minister’s all, chill out dudes, this has happened before. The smell of roses and fire fills the room, and Kelly’s all screaming out like, its her! It’s the ghost bride!

And the ghost bride does indeed appear at the back of the hall, all done up in her wedding gown, which also glows. As the ghost bride walks down the aisle the smell of smoke increases, and the ghost is all “I OBJECT.” Not since Rochester and Jane have I been so breathlessly excited by a wedding. The reason the ghost objects? “Pres was already married. To me.”

Pres is all freaking out and flailing around, like, nooooooo, you’re dead, it cant be! And the ghost bride goes all flamey and Pres is all, noooo, I couldn’t have survived the scandal it wasn’t my fault she died! And he’s also trying to run away from this flaming ghost that totally wants to make out with him.

Once Pres has fled, the lights suddenly come on. Blaine is all serene as she watches the burning bride. Clara does something to help the flames go out on the ghost bride, and then the ghost bride starts peeling make up off, and its actually ALISON! She’s not dead! Hurrah!

Later, Kelly, Jamie, Alison, Clara, Drew and Blaine are in Blaine’s suite together. And we get the whole story. Clara isn’t really Blaine's PA, she’s some kind of lady scientist. Clara had a younger sister who moved to New York to become a model. The sister was called Dove, and she actually lived with Blaine and Alison when they were all first starting out.

Dove met Pres and they decided to get married in secret (for some reason, Pres’s family is really weird about supermodels and I guess they wouldn’t have been happy about it. Not sure why, it’s not as if he was marrying the help.) So, they went to a remote island to do the deed, there was a car accident and Pres survived but Dove was killed. Umm, it kinda seems that it really WASN’T his fault. He didn’t report it though, he ran away and Dove’s body wasn’t discovered and identified for weeks, it must have looked pretty gnarly. Luckily, Dove kept a journal and Clara read it and found out all about Pres.

Clara needed to get revenge on Pres, she wanted him to admit what he had done, and Blaine and Alison also hated him because he’d just dumped Alison and then asked her best friend (Blaine ) out, so they were like yeah we're in, why the hell not! Umm, that doesn’t really seem like a strong enough reason for Blaine to have to actually make this guy fall in love with her. I mean, Pres and Blaine must have been together a reasonable length of time to be getting married. Presumably, she actually hates this guy but she must have done it with him and stuff. Also, why not just show the police the diary?

So basically, all of the weird stuff that happened was set up by Blaine, Clara and Alison to try to freak Pres out into admitting the truth (Kelly wasn’t in on it though, she’s all surprised because she actually thought Alison was dead. Niiice. ) The legend of the ghost of 'Rose' was a lie made up by Alison, and its apparent appearance in Jamie's mirror was just “a trick done with mirrors”. And that was a mistake anyway, the mirror ghost was meant for Pres. This explanation is soooo retarded, I actually love it, as if you’d go to the trouble of making all these elaborate plans and then not check you actually have the right room. The ghostly bride floating in the ballroom was made of “asbestos clothes and special effects”. Good old special effects. And nobody killed the doves, the were actually stuffed birds that had died ages ago. And Blaine and Alison were also the ones who locked Pres in the sauna to shake him up a bit, but they’re all like, oh sorry Jamie, we totally didn’t know you were in there too. For elaborate hoaxers, these guys sure do make a lot of mistakes. Poor Jamie.

Alison’s car crashing was, obviously, also a stunt. I’m not sure what the police would think about that. But you know what, I can’t even bothered to have to think this through anymore, I’m too blinded by my love for this book.

For some reason they all start laughing loads: “They laughed for a long time. Hard. Until their sides ached and they couldn’t breathe. Until they cried, some of them.” Come on, share the joke guys.

And then Drew and Jamie wander off together, presumably to have sex.

The end.

Wow. I feel like I’ve learned so much from this book. Number one, supermodels are not dumb okay, they’re fiendishly clever and sneaky so DO NOT MESS WITH THEM. Number two, you can achieve a hell of a lot with special effects and asbestos clothing. Number three, socialite playboys are total jerks. Numbr four, fashion can be FUN. I’m still left with a few questions though, namely what the hell are fuzzy scuffs, compression shorts and supplex?! Answers on a postcard please.

What do my fellow lovers of The Bride on Amazon think. Well, I’m in exalted company:

“at the start of the book you would realy get in to it at all time there is a bit of some thing to keep you on the edge of your set so if you get throug the first bit you are shure to fined another bit of exsitment waiting just for you and i think this book should be graded one of the best becouse i do read a lot and this one is one of the most fab books i have read as thay say do not juge a book by its cover so i did not i read it and i think it is one of the best one i have read .”

Us The Bride lovers are an eloquent bunch. And who needs full stops anyway, full stops are for the kind of losers who aren’t deeply in love with The Bride.

Oh, and this week I’m super excited because I found two old Point Horror books I didn’t realise I still had! It’s like a sign or something. Although I think the sign may be that I should really tidy my flat more often. Anyway, one of them is a Nightmare Hall book called The Wish, although it’s number 4 in the series or something so I don’t know if it would be weird to do it out of sequence? As far as I remember, it stands alone pretty nicely. I think it’s about an evil talking ventriloquist doll or something. The other one I found was Hide and Seek, which is a very very strange and unorthodox Point Horror indeed, but if I say too much I’ll totally give away the ending.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Blood Sinister - Celia Rees

Ok, so only by the loosest of definitions could this be called ‘Sunday.’ But what can I say, I’ve been busy travelling through time back to Victorian London and busting some serious vampire ass. Oh wait, maybe I’ve gotten my life mixed up with something else.

Blood Sinister is a Point Horror Unleashed, which I BELIEVE means that it was published for the UK only. So us Brits get to feel all warm and snuggly with superiority for having a Point Horror all to ourselves, and the rest of you get the excitement of reading an EXCLUSIVE recap that you can boast to all your friends about, now that’s what I like to call a win-win situation.

Sixteen year old Ellen is our lead character, and the main thing you need to know about Ellen is that she’s really really sick with a mystery illness. Nobody knows what’s wrong with her, she’s constantly having her blood tested etc. but to no avail. And she’s getting weaker and weaker, definitely more at the ‘Death’ stage of an illness rather than the ‘it’s Monday morning and I just cannot be bothered to get out of bed, lord love me’ stage. A sickly heroine, how fabulous.

Ellen is staying with her dear old granny for a couple of weeks in London whilst her mum does, I don’t know, something or other, I really can’t remember. Let’s spice things up and say she’s currently travelling with a circus as a bearded lady, yeah that’ll do.

Ellen’s grandma’s house is, naturally, super creepy and backs onto a cemetery. Oh yeah, and her grandma asks Ellen if she wants anything from the shop and Ellen’s all, just get me a copy of Mizz or Just Seventeen. Just Seventeen! I totally used to read that even though I was nowhere near seventeen at the time. It took me a pretty long time to work out that the title wasn’t indicative of some kind of new fangled magazine licensing law and I used to get really nervous buying it, like ‘Gawd, I hope I don’t get ID’d, I really need to read up on some new ways to practice kissing techniques.'

Anyway. Ellen goes for a little snoop around Granny’s attic and finds a mysterious trunk that she’s never noticed before. In the trunk is a whole bunch of old diaries from 1878, written by someone who was also called Ellen. Oh great, way to make life difficult for a recapper. Old Diary Ellen is modern sickly Ellen’s great great grandmother, a “pioneering woman doctor.” All female doctors should totally have to refer to themselves as ‘woman doctors’, like on their passports and stuff, occupation: woman doctor.

Ellen starts reading Old Ellen’s diary, and it’s written in that tiresome prose that authors of teenage books use to make something feel olde worldy. Old Ellen’s dad is a doctor and they live in some grim old hospital in a poor part of town, which Ellen pretty much thinks just sucks. Olde Timey Ellen also has a crush on Tom, her father’s assistant. I guess in those days you probably were pretty much limited to having a crush on whatever non-blood relatives find their way into your house. Unless you were like a whoring wench or something, but that was probably less glamorous than it sounds what with the syphilis and all.

Anyway Olde Timey Diary Ellen’s dad has some weirdo guests over. An exceptionally pale man and a busty voluptuous woman with dark eyes. A Countess and a Count. Foreign. Very likely candidates to be vampires. They may as well just go around introducing themselves to people as The Obvious Vampires.

Modern Ellen’s reading is interrupted by a visitor arriving - Andy, a guy who lives nearby and who she used to play with when they were kids. “His hair was cut in a recognizable style, instead of looking like his mother had been at it with the bacon scissors.” What the fuck are bacon scissors. I mean, I can guess pretty accurately what they are, but I sooooo did not know that that was a thing.

Back to old Ellen’s diary: the woman leaves but the Count stays. The Count requests that old Ellen keeps him company to help improve his English. The Count is very ill, he’s dying and her dad is going to try to help him. They’re old friends and the Count and Countess helped her dad when her mother Isobel got ill in foreign-land, even though she eventually died, so he feels like he owes them a debt of care. Even though if you ask me, the fact that she died doesn’t exactly make it sound like they helped a great deal.

The diary skips forward a month later and Future Woman Doctor Ellen is loving spending time with the Count, although his condition has worsened so she is super worried about him. They’ve totally bonded, but there’s just one little weensy thing she doesn’t like about him: his teeth. Which are too sharp looking. Modern Ellen has way more smarts than olde worldy Ellen and she quickly figures out that the Count was totes a vampire!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Back in modern times, Andy comes round, and him and Ellen go shopping at some second hand market. Ellen handily finds a book called Women in Medicine, and indeed there’s an entry on oldey timey Ellen, famed Woman Doctor. Woman Doctor Ellen specialised in the ‘study of blood.’ Ellen tells Andy about the vampire diaries, and he eagerly asks to read them as well. Supposedly, “Andy had his own reasons for believing in vampires.”

Andy walks Ellen home, taking a shortcut through a graveyard, Ellen reminds him of a time when they were kids, and Andy went into the graveyard at night time as a dare and came out all pale faced and trembly and weird. He tells her that he ended up in a mausoleum and heard a scratching sound, like a dead person scratching at their tomb. So, a pretty bullet proof reason for believing in vampires then. And he subsequently did some “research” and found loads of “articles” about vampires being spotted in the area. Hmm. If I were Ellen, I’d definitely ask to see his sources.

Back in the diary, olde worldy Ellen gets roped in to helping her dad and Tom operate on the Count . What daddy dearest doesn’t tell her is that her help will comprise of Tom and daddy transfusing Ellen’s blood into the Count. Tom isn’t happy about it but Ellen agrees to donate her blood. Man, Ellen’s dad really sucks Luckily, Ivan (The Count’s manservant) intervenes and tells them to use his blood instead. The transfusion is a success.

A corpse is found in the river. Why were corpses always found in the river in the olden days? You don’t get that quite as often anymore do you. Ellen has a little cut on her wrist and good old Cook applies a herbal remedy to get rid of it, the main ingredient of which is garlic. Come on, as if you’d write all this shit about garlic in your diary.

The Count gives old Ellen some crazy junk wine and tells her a story about someone who I think is meant to be Dracula. When he goes to kiss Ellen’s wrist as is his foreign custom, the smell of garlic totally grosses him out. I’ll be really happy if the twist is that he actually isn’t a vampire.

More and more kids are going missing/getting killed in Diary world, turning up all corpsey and drained of blood. Ellen and Tom drift apart.

Modern times: Andy and Ellen find a picture of dead Ellen from when she was a girl, and the two Ellens look identical. Andy and Ellen whoop it up, watching vampire films and umm, throwing ice cream at each other? Kids nowadays, huh.

It starts getting weird that night after Andy leaves: a bat crawls into Ellen’s window and bites her whilst she’s sleeping, Ellen is completely oblivious to this. Hmm, I wonder if this is perhaps related to the origin of her mysterious illness.

For some reason, we are suddenly plunged into part two of the book. If breaking Point Horror books up into parts isn’t a delusion of grandeur then I don’t know what is. It’s not even as if any time has passed, or anything really major has happened to warrant splitting it into parts. Its literally just half way though the book. Sorry, I’m going on about it now, I know. It just really really bothers me.

Anyway, MOVING ON, modern Ellen has a dream that she is old Ellen, and she meets someone new in her dream: The Countess’s companion, Grace, who is also thin and bloodless looking etc. Modern Ellen wakes up and checks the diaries, and Grace is actually a real person. Hmm, that’s weird. Ellen thinks “it was like something out of ‘Strange But True magazine.’ Is this a real magazine? I like the sound of it.

Oldey timey Ellen is being taken on loads of shopping trips, which makes her suspicious: why is her father buying her all these new clothes? Also, she finds out that Grace hates the Countess and she only stays with her because she has no other options for earning money, except becoming a prostitute. Grace warns Ellen to keep away from the Countess and the Count, telling her that they are dangerous and corrupt.

Oldey timey Ellen goes out with the Count and he ends up taking her to see a show, then to a restaurant for champagne and oysters. And they dance. And oldey timey Ellen feels all dirty and disgusted buy it, even though she’s kind of confused by her own disgust. Modern Ellen totally scoffs at Old Worlde Ellen for her prudishness.

More women are killed in olde timey London, etc. Tom comes to tell oldey timey Ellen that her father is firing him over a disagreement so he will be leaving. And he gives her a crucifix and just comes right out with it, telling her that the Count is a vampire. Ellen kind of thinks he’s crazy but still agrees to wear the crucifix. That’s a pretty sweet technique for getting love rivals out of your way, just spread a tasty little rumour that they’re The Walking Undead.

Oldey timey Ellen’s dad reveals that he fired Tom because of Tom's belief that the Count is a vampire. The man is an absolute penis breath. Insufferable. Anyway, Dr Dad says that The Count is just suffering from a rare blood disease. And he drops one more bombshell: he wants Ellen to go to the continent with the Count and Countess to travel and see the world. Ellen does NOT want to go, and she resumes her friendship with Tom, who vows to try to find some evidence about the Count's nefarious blood sucking ways so she'll be allowed to stay.

The countess is all grossed out by Ellen’s crucifix and insists on giving her some gnarly old ruby necklace that spells out a dragon or something instead. Grace shows Ellen two puncture marks on her neck, and tells her she needs to get away from the Count and Countess before it happens to her too. Ellen gives Grace some cash and the gross dragon necklace to sell so that Grace can escape.

Modern Ellen’s illness gets considerably worse and she passes out.

Ellen dreams of being olde timey Ellen, and together with Tom, she's following the Count and watching as he gets all bitey bitey with some impoverished broad before Ivan the manservant steps in and rescues the woman from being eaten.

In modern day, Ellen is really seriously ill – like, knock knock kocking on Heaven’s door. She gets taken to hospital in an ambulance, and is passing in and out of consciousness the whole time, sometimes as herself and sometimes as oldey timey Ellen.

In the old days, The Count kidnaps Ellen onto his ship, sneaking her aboard in a coffin so nobody could possibly know where she is and potentially rescue her. The Count and Countess are offering Ellen the chance to become one of them – and have immortal life etc, if she says no, they’ll kill her. They have CHOSEN HER because of her dead mother. Turns out her mum was all set to become one of them but then she got pregnant with Ellen and that somehow interfered with the process and she ended up dead. It’s not really made clear whether or not Ellen’s mum wanted to be a vampire, which would certainly be one of the first questions I’d be asking. Ellen whips out her crucifix and, as is pretty par for the course for a Point Horror heroine, winds up starting a fire. And then Ivan the man servant steps in and saves her from burning. Good old Ivan. And she jumps out the ship and escapes. And we find out later that olde timey Ellen ended up marrying Tom and becoming a Famed Woman Doctor etc., so happy endings all round.

Modern Ellen wakes up in hospital with all tubes and shit down her throat. And inexplicably, we now move into Book Three. Ellen is still in hospital , and her nurse is called Jenny Cheung,. Jenny Cheung “has creamy clear skin and slanting eyes. “ Ellen is unduly fascinated by her eyes and spends ages staring at them. Awkward. As a treat, Jenny Cheung offers to cook Ellen some Chinese food when she recovers. OK OK, WE GET IT, JENNY CHEUNG IS CHINESE.

Jenny Cheung tells Ellen that her doctor is a big shot specialist from the states called Dr Stacey, Everyone thinks he’s The Shit, but Jenny Cheung is kinda wary of him. And Ellen recognizes him as being ….. The Count! So clearly, she's also sorta wary. Ellen decides there’s no point even trying to tell anyone, which for once actually seems like a sensible move. Ellen’s mum tells hr that soon she’s going to be transferred to Dr Stacey’s private hospital, The Blooditorium. Well, it’s not actually called The Blooditorium but that would be pretty neat right?

Dr Stacey comes to see Ellen in the night and he knows she knows and she now knows that he knows that she knows. About the diaries. And the whole being a vampire gig. He kind of shows off about it a bit to be honest: “He reached down and took a unit of blood, popping the seal and drinking like it was a pouch of Ribena.” He tells Ellen that she’s special because she carries a gene of something or other (which is what’s making her so ill all the time) , and she basically has to become a vampire or she’ll just die.

Andy visits Ellen and she tells him about her doctor being a vampire etc. Andy’s pretty cool about it and believes her. I guess when you’re a sixteen year old guy you’ll believe a lot of stuff if it looks like you might get a quick grope out of it later. Ellen also tells Jenny Cheung about Dr Stacey. Jenny Cheung is also surprisingly quick to believe what Ellen says.

Jenny Cheung and Andy meet up to sort this mess out. The plan is that Jenny and Ellen are going to swap places in the hospital bed to prevent the good Doctor from getting his fangs into Ellen. Andy astutely points out that this plan may not work as Jenny Cheung, is in fact, in case you hadn’t noticed already, Chinese. Jenny Cheung soothes his fears by pointing out that their height and build are similar? Umm ok. And Jenny Cheung is going to use a Dictaphone to record whatever happens so they have evidence against him. Jeez, why don’t they just kill the guy or something. I mean, that’s what I’d do.

Andy and Jenny Cheung head off to Chinatown (because Jenny Cheung’s defining personality trait is Being Chinese), and Jenny Cheung tells Andy all about Chinese vampires, Kang-shi. They go to a Chinese Herbal Medicine shop, which is owned by Jenny Cheung’s uncle. He agrees to make them a potion to get rid of the vampire. Oh , please. Please don’t get rid of the vampire by using a fucking potion. This is too much. I was really looking forward to a good staking, perhaps with a beheading thrown in, But some POTION? That’s seriously lame, dude. So this ‘potion’ is basically just a poison that will either kill him outright or just weaken him up. In which case, they WILL have to stake him, Uncle Cheung gives all these tips on how to carry out a good staking. This is fucking ridiculous, this guy is basically sanctioning that these kids murder someone. Umm, Uncle Cheung? What if this guy ISN’T a vampire huh?

Jenny decides that the best way to trick Dr Stacey into taking the potion is to drink the potion herself, so if Dr Stacey bites her he’ll get poisoned too. Which is possibly the most ridiculous plan I’ve ever heard in my life, I’m not even going to bother picking holes in it as they’re so glaringly obvious anyway.

Jenny Cheung and Andy head back to the hospital to make the swap…only to find that Ellen has already been transferred to Dr Stacey’s private clinic. So Andy and Jenny head to The Blooditorium instead. Andy pretends he’s visiting his sister to distract the desk nurse with idle chitter chatter, and Jenny Cheung pretends to be an agency worker called Su Lin Chen, wearing a high collared coat and a scarf all muffling her face and a hat so you cant really see what she looks like. Jenny manages to get in, and then Ellen comes out wearing Jenny’s clothes, still all muffled. In other words, they pull off The Old Switcheroo.

Dr Stacey creeps into Ellen’s room that evening and takes a big old chomp out of Jenny-as-Ellen, clearly not noticing that she’s turned Chinese overnight.

Ellen and Andy go to pick Jenny out the next morning, who’s snuck herself back out in a nurse's uniform, She shows them the gash that Dr Stacey made on her neck. For some reason, Ellen goes BACK INTO Dr Stacey’s Blooitorium rather than just escaping. She wants to officially discharge herself for some murky reason. Andy follows Dr Stacey as he leaves the hospital. He doesn’t come back. As soon as Ellen is discharged (? That was easy. Why didn’t she just do that in the first place), her and Jenny go in search of Andy.

Also, Ellen is suddenly starting to become a lot healthier, supposedly this is because as Dr Stacey grows weaker from the poison it makes his victim, Ellen grow in strength.

The girls enter the cemetery and they find Andy, he had gotten lost I guess. The sun suddenly goes down, and they reach a dead end - The Count’s family vault. That sure is handy that he happens to have a family vault here, even though none of his family members that I’m aware of have died in London. Ellen waits outside whilst the others go in. Ummm, WHY is this girl our heroine?? She’s too weak to even do anything fer crying out loud.

They find The Count/Dr Stacey in a coffin, sleeping soundly. Jenny Cheung uses some Chinese vampire hoo doo to hold him in place, which together with the poison that has weakened him, will greatly improve the chances of a successful staking.

Unfortunately he wakes up and starts stretching out his teeth in preparation for a tasty human snack. Fortunately, the family vault also decides that this is the perfect time to start falling down. Jenny and Andy run out of the building to where Ellen is waiting for them outside, Dr Stacey is unable to move from his coffin thanks to the hoo doo and is killed by a falling iron sheet that slices off his head. I gotta say, I’m kinda disappointed. Ellen really didn’t DO anything, she wasn’t even there to witness his final destruction and dance a merry little jig of happiness.

Ellen’s health is completely restored, she’ s happy because now she knows she’s not going to die any time soon (well, unless she gets hit by a bus or something) so she can plan a future, and she decides that “in the end she would be a doctor. It was in her blood.” Fnarr, Fnarr.

In conclusion: Blood Sinister is actually pretty decent, at least until Part Three when things start falling apart a little. But the overall standard of writing is far superior to the usual Richie Tankersely Cusick/RL Stine style dross, I give it two fangs up. (see what I did there.)

This is my favourite Amazon review, perhaps my favourite ever:

“When I was reading a particulary creepy bit I thought my brain was imagening creepy violin music, it turned out to be my brother in the next room!!”


Next time: The Bride by D. E. Athinks. Which I admit that I chose pretty much soley on the basis of how awesome the name D. E. Athinks is. I mean, if you’re going to shoehorn the word Death into your name, why not have something equally scary on the end as well? Like, D. E. AthKILL or something. Or maybe that’s just TOO scary.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

The Babysitter Returns Again

Just a quick post to say - now that those pesky holidays are over with, it's finally time to get back to work and regular posts are back on. YAY!

Keep your eyes peeled for a new post this Sunday - which will either be Blood Sinister or something else. Depending if the 'something else' arrives on time, and also on whether I can actually face anymore drippy teenage tales of vampires and whatever blah blah blah (I'm looking at you, Twilight...stupid sexy Twilight.)