Not long ago, I read a book with one of the best titles I’d read in a long while (How to say goodbye in Robot – Natalie Standiford). Fat Vampire, on the other hand, might very well have the best book cover in a long while… I know, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but hey, in this over-mediatized world of teenage drama, an eye-catching cover might just do the trick, right? And catching your eye, it does (care for a blood slushee, anyone?).
Needless to say the cover raised my interest, and the blurb, really got my attention… I mean, aren’t we all in favor of an anti-Edward vamp these days? A pudgy unpopular geek of a vampire, interested in Comic Cons… tell me you’re not just a little bit interested in knowing what will happen to him?
At first the book reads like the book version of Buffy The Vampire Slayer meets Jay & Silent Bob. It’s fun, it’s goofy, and it’s all about the fun interaction between 2 guys completely in tune with their inner geek. Much like Buffy has to come to terms with her fate as the Slayer, Doug – the Fat Vampire – needs to find out how he will deal with being 15, fat, and unattractive forever. The beginning of the book is very very funny and you will find yourselves laughing out loud at the jokes. Unfortunately (for Doug as well as the reader), Doug, being the self-obsessed teenager that he was while still alive, will also remain a self-obsessed, completely unlikeable vampire the more his self-confidence grows (and growing it does!) in the book.
Then, instead of focusing on the characters of Doug and Jay, the story takes on 2 different threads. First there is Senjal, the Indian exchange student who has ‘the Google’ (yes, it’s a disease). At first it appears the interaction between Doug and Senjal will lead to spectular vampire-human fireworks, but then all this… falls flat. A real pity, because the potential was really there.
And second, apparently, writing a vampire story (even of the anti-Twilight variety) by definition seems to mean you have to include the whole vampire-community, you know, who sired who and how do these people deal with their immortality. This is an OK thought, if you can come up with a decent back story. The problem here is that the eventual ending of the book is such a letdown – not to mention completely out of the blue because none of these vampire characters are properly developed – that it spoils much of the excellent beginning of the book.
Adam Rex sure can write. He does have great ideas, but still, Fat Vampire is a bit of a missed opportunity.