Vampire fiction and I maintain a very uneasy relationship. The vampire has always been my favourite literary/cinematic monster. I feel like I grew up with vampires, so I tend to be rather protective of their dark reputation. While I'm willing to allow for a little creative license, such as the reluctant vampire seeking redemption, I have absolutely no patience for the sparkly crap that attempts to do away with supernatural evil in the name of romance.
Fortunately, Plucking Cupid's Bow is one of those books where I found myself not only willing to forgive the creative license, but actually enjoying it. Alex Potvin and Rebecca Murphy have taken some clever liberties here, both in terms of the genre and their characters, but the novelty is more than matched by the strength of the storytelling.
Camille Murphy (Cami) is one of the most engaging characters I have come across in a very long time. She's cute, she's funny, she's profound . . . and she's certifiably crazy. Despite having been turned almost a century ago (in an asylum, of course), Cami refuses to accept the fact that she's a vampire. Crazy as she may be, Cami is a wonderfully strong character, one you can't help but love and admire. Protected by a goth-girl minion she recruited at the 7-11), Cami must deal with a pair of comically inept demons who pass the time by assisting with her hopeless attempts at suicide, a clumsy priest who is convinced she would look best immersed in the holy water of an exorcism, and a hopeless nerd who thinks she'd look far better in a superhero cape.
You can't help but wonder if you'd be talking to Slurpee machines yourself were you in her place.
This is a read that's both fun and funny, but never at the expense of the story. There's a vampire prophecy to deal with, a nicely-developed love triangle, and more than a little anti-heroism. As unbelievable as it may seem, this crazy cast of characters must band together to stop the Shadow King, who wants to unleash Hell (capital 'H') on the nation's capital, and the Baron, who doesn't appreciate such mortal interference with the slave he sired to help him foresee the future.
It's a story that shouldn't work, and one where you would expect the novelty to wear off pretty quickly, but somehow Potvin and Murphy keep it all going. If you're ever in the mood for something completely different that twists (but never betrays) the genre conventions, get yourself a comfy couch, grab a glass of wine (or two) and settle in for a fun read.
[Reviewed by Sally]