Wednesday 4 June 2014

Mini reviews: Red At Night by Katie McGarry and Vampire University by VJ Erickson

Red At Night
Stella and Jonah are total opposites. She's the girl with purple hair from the wrong part of town. He's a high school senior who hangs with the cool crowd. Until a car accident leaves him haunted by guilt, and Jonah starts spending time at Stella's favourite refuge…the local cemetery.

Stella knows she should keep her distance—after all, she spent her girlhood being bullied by Jonah's friends. Once he's sorted out his tangled emotions, Jonah won't have time for her anymore. Too bad she's already fallen for him….

Oh, I love everything written by Katie McGarry and this was no different! Typical of McGarry's style, the story was split between Stella, a strange girl with purple hair who likes to hang out in a cemetery, and Jonah who is haunted by the words of a dying stranger. It was a novella but nothing felt rushed or crammed in; the pace was good, skimming over some of the 'getting to know you' parts to get to the good stuff, the confessions and the heart aches. 

I really liked these characters; Stella was so sweet, stuck in such a crappy situation and waiting until she could escape. She was the complete opposite of Jonah, he needed someone to accept him with no complications or expectations. As you would expect from McGarry, both characters grow and develop together to meet in the middle for the better of their relationship. I adored seeing them both grow, especially seeing Jonah stand up for himself against his so-called best friend, and see Stella share a part of herself she keeps private with Jonah.

Vampire University
Constantly moving as she grew up, Taylor had learned the hard way how to blend in wherever she went. But when she moves to VanCamp University for her freshman year of college, she immediately finds herself at the center of attention of nearly everyone she encounters. From the charismatic and mysterious Evans twins, to her quirky, clingy roommate Hannah, it seems that the people in Taylor's new college life have no intention of letting her be the wallflower.

It's not just blending in that Taylor has to worry about, though. At VanCamp University, there is more to the staff and students than meets the eye. While trying to adjust to her new life on campus, she finds herself in a world where fairy tales and reality collide, where gargoyles and leprechauns mingle with humans and vampires, and where nothing is as it first appears.

And as she discovers the truth of her own unusual heritage, Taylor learns that fairy tales are just the beginning.

I had such high hopes from this - a university where vampires and other mythical creatures roam? Sounds awesome right? Unfortunately, not so much. Maybe because it was quite short, maybe the introduction to vampires wasn't very good, or the story wasn't executed very well - all of the above made for an overall disappointing read. 

It had quite a bit of potential, with its campus life blending into a fight for survival and all sorts of mystical creatures coming into play, but all these things were crammed in to a short story and the pacing didn't work at all. The basic story was pretty good: new girl at uni, finds herself a target for a stubborn vamp, discovers she has secret powers. Unfortunately, it wasn't set out very well, with too much else going on from vampire room mate to leprechaun senior; plus the big baddy wasn't even part of the story until the last little bit before he was taken care off anyway. If it wasn't so short, I would have given up. 

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