Once again I’ve proven to myself that a low Goodreads rating doesn’t mean the book is bad or that I won’t like it. With a mere 3.04, «The Vampire of Maple Town» was a very solid and magical debut novel that I would highly recommend to anyone who loves fairytales and inexperienced vampires trying to find their place in the human society.
After a young boy becomes a reluctant vampire, he is forced to sign a contract to kill someone in his home of Maple Town. This is the condition behind the mysterious adoption of fifteen-year old Charlie. While under the care of the grieving widow, Vincent Prowl, Charlie can never go outside. Vincent’s only explanation is that it’s too dangerous. One day Charlie escapes and Vincent realizes he’ll do anything to save his son —even if it means the destruction of the town he once loved in exchange for he and his son’s freedom. All the while, unbeknownst to the fact that a young, locked away witch named Alice holds the key to preventing a tragedy and freeing Charlie from his gruesome contract and the deadline that grows closer with each day.
Thank you Netgalley and EverAfterPress, Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members’ Titles for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own and not influenced by the company or its affiliates in any way.
It’s not often that we get a new take on the old vampire story. Generally, vampires are these ruthless beasts, akin Dracula, or love boys like Edward from the Twilight Saga or Stefan and Damon from The Vampire Diaries. Seeing vampires as someone who is completely inexperienced in the “vampire business” and tries to learn how to live with it, was very interesting and refreshing.
WHAT I LIKED:
1 – Let’s begin with the small town setting. Maple Town seemed to come from the pages of a fairytale – orchards that belonged to the Maple family were the crown of the Maple Town, with Sally Maple as its center jewell. Everyone loved Sally. All eligible youth has tried their chance with the princess of orchards. Sadly, Sally’s heart didn’t belong to anyone.
You might think that this is a love story. But it was so much more. It’s a story of difficult choices, of friendship, and finding your place in the world, when all the world does is trying to isolate you from everyone else.
In Maple Town everyone knows each other. Charlie, the young inexperienced vampire, got excited to meet people but he also needed to be careful to not reveal his biggest secret – that he’s a vampire and needs blood to survive.
2 – Charlie’s story was very interesting, but the character that spoke to me the most was Alice. The story of a little witch hidden from the world was a little bit more exciting to me that the one about the little vampire. I guess I prefer witches over vampires… oops! The finale of the book definitely hinted at the possibility of a sequel, and there are still many questions that were left unanswered. So hopefully the sequel will focus more on Alice (sorry, Charlie!).
Alice seemed to be a very strong young lady, and with all the witchcraft skills she learned from the Cat, there is a ton of potential for a more magical orientated story in the future.
3 – This was one of the few books where queer characters didn’t feel forced. When reading books with queer characters I often feel that authors introduce them just for the sake of meeting some goals. But in this book, it felt genuine, although I shouldn’t be the one to judge this, and would love to hear from someone who can actually relate to the character what they thought about it.
4 – Another element that spoke to me was the little magical things that popped up here and there that didn’t affect the plot and didn’t require any logical explanation. They are magic afterall. It might look like I don’t like structured and “logical” magic (if such a thing exists), but I do.
However, what I love the most is the whimsical feeling of something magical happening that doesn’t need any justification. These elements bring me back to childhood because ultimately most middle-grade books contain this aspect in one way or another.
While I was reading «The Vampire of Maple Town» nothing negative stood out to me. The writing style was very smooth and easy to read, the pacing didn’t feel slow and the mysteries within the plot hooked me from the very beginning. It wasn’t quite a 5-star read, but I’m very much looking forward to anything else Kane McLoughlin comes up with!
What kind of magic do you prefer to find in your books? Structured or unexpected?
Let me know in the comments below!