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Thursday, 28 February 2013

sparkle-free and angst-less

I just devoured the Elemental Mysteries - a very entertaining series of books by Independent Author, Elizabeth Hunter. Ms. Hunter has done something remarkable in these books; she created a new vampire mythology in an age of moody teenaged bloodsuckers. Her vampires have an inherited affinity for one of four elements (earth, air, water, fire) from which they draw power, yet her mythology maintains all the rules for vampires that make sense (death by sun and beheading, blood-drinking for sustenance, passing out cold during daylight hours, and age equals strength). They're not sparkly, or angsty, nor are they inherently evil, and the ones we hang out with spent a considerable amount of time training to fight when they were human, so their enhanced vampire hand-to-hand combat skills are Matrix-worthy and cool.

I come from a long history of contemporary vampirism-in-literature readership, beginning with Anne Rice (because why wouldn't you?), and leaving off most recently with Charlaine Harris - the books, not the show. Vampires have been done to death - yes, I went there - and it's a wonderful surprise to find something fresh, entertaining and new that doesn't break the obvious rules.

Even better? The first book, A Hidden Fire, is free for kindle on Amazon. And with over 500 five-star reviews it's hard to resist downloading it, even if it sits in your library for awhile (like my copy did). But then I went to Portland for a couple of days, and it rained... and rained... and rained, and I kept wandering across A Hidden Fire in the "if you liked this, you'll like this" sections on Amazon, so I finally opened it. And about eight hours later I spent the whopping $3.99 each for books two, three and four, and devoured them with the same relish and enjoyment.

Elizabeth Hunter has crafted wonderful stories set in a world that surprised and delighted me, even as it lured me into its provocative vampire mythology. It's a series worth the investment for pure escapist fiction, especially if you've ever, even secretly, enjoyed a book about vampires.