I’m always a sucker (ha ha, pun very much intended) for campy, quirky vampire novels — and Drink. Slay. Love. by Sarah Beth Durst more than delivers.
The book follows 16-year-old vampire Pearl, who suddenly becomes able to venture into the sunlight after she’s stabbed in the heart by a unicorn. (Yes. A unicorn.) Her vampire family agrees this is the perfect opportunity for her to immerse herself incognito into the local high school so as to lure the student body to a party for the vampire king’s upcoming feast. On the menu? The student body. The only problem is, along the way, Pearl discovers she can do more than just not burst into flames in the sunlight — and she’s developing a nagging conscious that’s starting to tell her this whole “make the students a feast” plan is a bad idea. But what can she do? Go against her family, or betray her new human friends?
As with any vampire novel these days, a good author has to know how to (a) distinguish their vamps from others out there and (b) find a way to fit their vamps into the pop culture plethora out there. Durst does this in aces and spades, writing her own unique twist to the vampire mythology, and taking a tongue-in-cheek approach to certain pop culture vampire references. These range from the subtle to the outrageously obvious (and hilarious). It’s a self-conscious approach to writing a vampire story, and it works brilliantly here.
It’s also a challenge sometimes to write about a character who does bad things (like, you know, killing and eating people) and still make them likable, but Durst does so here. Despite her murderous tendencies at first, Pearl is definitely a character you can root for — especially as you witness her reluctant transformation from killer teenage vamp to something else (post-unicorn encounter).
But Pearl isn’t the only interesting character. From her vampire family, to the kids from different cliques at school, to the mysterious, handsome and always-ever-so-helpful Evan. (And speaking of those cliques at school — kudos to Durst for writing them in a fresh, believable, and not cliched way. This was a great aspect of Drink. Slay. Love.!)
And while throwing in the outrageous concept of unicorns (and, er, more — but I won’t say for the sake of avoiding spoilers), Durst manages to make this wild ride of a novel work. She takes some ridiculous scenarios and, within the context of the book, makes them work.
Though it seems as if Drink. Slay. Love. was written as a standalone (and certainly wraps up neatly enough), it still leaves room for a potential sequel — something I’d definitely be open to reading!
Drink. Slay. Love. is a quirky, charming twist on the vampire tale told with heart, humor and sass. It is in stores on September 13th.
Here is the official synopsis:
Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire… fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil… until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops.
Her family thinks she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don’t exist), and they’re shocked she survived. They’re even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The Vampire King of New England has chosen Pearl’s family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure them to the King’s feast — as the entrees.
The only problem? Pearl’s starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends—especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache—to be slaughtered? Then again, she’s definitely dead if she lets down her family. What’s a sunlight-loving vamp to do?