Sunday, November 20, 2011

Review: Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst


Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Best Durst

Pages: 396
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Published: December 1st, 2011
IBSN: 9781742379166

Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire, fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil... until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops. 

Her Family think she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don't exist), and they're shocked she survived. They're even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The Vampire King of New England has chosen Pearl's Family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure them to the king's feast -- as the entrees.

The only problem? Pearl's starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends -- especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache -- to be slaughtered? Then again, she's definitely dead if she lets down her Family. What's a sunlight-loving vamp to do?

Pearl's family is as dysfunctional as any other, though not in the same way. She comes from a prestigious line of vampires, and with her Fealty Ceremony approaching, it's almost time for her to truly become one of them. But in a visit to her regular haunt -- the neck of a boy who works at the Dairy Hut -- she's attacked by a unicorn, staked with its horn, and left with a nasty ache and burdensome case of humanity.

The major appeal of Drink, Slay, Love, I guess, was supposed to be the humour. Though what was surprising was the genuine and interesting plot. After the brush with a unicorn, Pearl finds herself with a conscious, reflection, and a cured allergy to sunlight. Her parents send her out into the real, daytime world to lure in meals, which is getting harder as she stops thinking of people as meals and starts thinking of people as people.

Though, the tone of the humour was inconsistent. The parody title; a vampire with a surname meaning blood in French; and an opening scene in which Pearl's boyfriend is making smarmy, over-the-top declarations of love and admiration and comparing her breath to industrial strength air freshener. It all hinted towards a kind of ridiculous humor, a la Beauty Queens, but it lost that mood fairly early on and attempts to bring it back felt awkward.

The typical brand of humour, however, is one I feel like I grew out of. And instead of evoking a kind of nostalgia, it was mostly exasperating. It came in stereotypes and in dialogue that smells of people trying too hard to be liked on the internet (speaking about epicness or punctuating each. word. with. a period. for emphasis or just anything Matt or Zeke said). It was kind of juvenille(?) for my taste, but I had fun with the plot at least.

Overall, Drink, Slay, Love was a pleasantly silly vampire story for fans of younger YA. I felt as though by having outgrown some of the humour I was missing out on some of what the book had to offer. But the plot was interesting, and I may try her earlier fantasy novel Ice.

I give Drink, Slay, Love a 3 out of 5.