book review / sam

Fat Vampire: A Never Coming of Age Story by Adam Rex

Some guys have all the luck. And some of them have none of it. Doug Lee is one of the later. He’s doomed to be a chunky, dorky teenager for the rest of his undead life.

Being a total comic book nerd you’d think that becoming a vampire would be kind of awesome. You would also think that Doug, with the help of his best friend Jay, could figure the whole think out. But Doug learns very quickly that it’s cracked up to be. Not in the slightest. He’s stuck drinking the blood of cows and other, big farmyard animals when he fails to land a goth chick who he thinks would be totally into it. His vampire “coach” is totally lame and this Indian foreign exchange student he’s falling for won’t even give him the time of day. He doesn’t even have a cool origin story: he was bitten by a newly made vampire who had no idea what he was doing. Plus there’s a Joey Greco wannabe trying to track him down for his crappy basic cable show after a little misguided midnight visit to  a panda’s pen while at Comic Con and… well.

Long story short?

It’s not easy being a fat teenage vampire.

Granted, to be fair, the book itself isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, either. It’s not a bad book at all but sometimes it just feels like there’s too much going on. There are a number of characters that it follows and the stories are somewhat disconnected. To be honest, I didn’t really need to follow the vampire hunters all that closely. All I needed to know about them I could have learned from one half chapter of Doug spying on them or something.

Similarly, as much as I like Sejal, she’s not meant to be the main character. It’s supposed to be Doug. This is supposed to be Doug’s story about how he’s trying to get the hang of the whole vampire thing. But then maybe two-thirds of the way into the book (or even sooner) Doug gets taken out of the equation entirely for a while and everyone’s like “Oh, man, Doug’s become a douchebag.” Well, okay. Yeah, struggling with being a vampire and trying to find a girl to let you feed on her has to be difficult. It certainly puts a realistic strain on his relationship with his best friend. And douchebag Doug? Actually kind of an interesting character.

It would have been nice to actually see that transition as Doug instead of as everyone else.

Fat Vampire starts out great. I haven’t laughed as hard in the first chapter of a book in a long time. It was fun. The depiction of Comic Con was great and his little hijinks at the San Diego Zoo? Priceless. But it peters out after a while and it was a struggle to get through it. I spent a good two or three weeks with just a few chapters left and I honestly wasn’t that interested in the outcome.

Still, the book has it’s moments and I did enjoy pretty much the entire thing up until the last few chapters. I just wish the book had been a bit more cohesive and told a more solid story. I liked Doug, I liked Sejal, and while the end wasn’t the greatest it actually wrapped things up fairly nicely in a way I’m not sure people really expected. At the very least it was a good ending (the presentation was a bit off, though).

Final Grade: B-/C+

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