Friday, August 27, 2010

Infinite Days

Maizel, Rebecca. Infinite Days. New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 2010. Print.
[Book cover credit:]

Lenah's life as a vampire was one full of misery, her own and the misery she inflicted on her thousands of human victims over the centuries. Then, after a century long nap, she wakes up as a human. The torment of the vampire existence is gone, replaced by the range of feelings and senses we humans take for granted. But Rhode, her maker and soul mate, site in front of her dying so that she can live again. A new kind of misery. But Lenah is now human and humans are resilient creatures with much shorter memories than vampires. If Lenah can make a life for herself in the boarding school in which Rhode has left her, maybe she can survive without him and in spite of all the other vampires she has left behind.

Woohoo! The vampire is scary again! This is not a horror book because Lenah is no longer a vampire, but in her flashbacks to her former un-life, she is eeevil. But Lenah, and her coven of sexy vampire men, still have a few tricks up their sleeves, such as the one that allows Lenah to be human again. I love that Maizel added to vampire lore and myth without completely ignoring traditional vampire tales. This allowed her to focus on what made Lenah and her coven different from traditional vampires without making that the focus of the story. Unfortunately, even though it wasn't the focus of the story, the vampire parts were my favorite parts.

Lenah as a human was not my favorite person. I wouldn't say Lenah as a vampire was my favorite either because she, you know, ate people for fun, but at least she was interesting. I get that having just watched the love of her un-life sacrifice himself for her, Lenah wouldn't be the peppiest person on the quad. I also get that having been unconscious for 100 years, Lenah finds a lot of things weird, offensive, alien, whatevs. I'm fine with all of that. And so is Tony, the cute Japanese-American scholarship student who befriends her. Even though odd things are always coming out of her mouth and she never seems to know what's going on even though she's obviously a smarty-pants, Tony takes Lenah under his wing, shows her around campus, teaches her how to drive (Rhode left Lenah a seriously amazing car, in addition to the steamer trunk full of cash in her PRIVATE APARTMENT on the top floor of her boarding school dorm), and inducts her into the woes of bathing suit shopping. He's the best best friend a girl could ask for, especially a girl in Lenah's situation.

When Tony falls in love with Lenah, she knows about it but doesn't acknowledge it. No problems there. Things like this happen. And it's awkward. Instead, broody Lenah who wears all black, works in the library, and whose biting wit is almost as evil as her former, well, bite, falls in love with The Jock. You know the one. He's the star of everything he touches, all the guys want to be him, all the girls want to do him, and he's dating the hottest girl in school. In his defense, Justin does not fall into the 80s movie stereotype of a jock; he really is a nice guy (except for the fact that he continues dating the hottest girl in the school while he pursues Lenah, right up until the moment when he knows he's won Lenah over and it's safe to dump the girlfriend, but that's a whole different rant). When Lenah and Justin finally get together, it's like everything clicks into place for Lenah. She's no longer a stranger in a strange land. No transition, no learning stuff, she just all of a sudden belongs in a New England boarding school in 2010. It's like magic (barf). But Justin's nowhere near as in tune to Lenah as Tony is, and she ditches Tony for him. She doesn't just choose Justin over Tony romantically, that I would have been fine with as it's almost never a good idea to date your friends. Instead, Lenah pulls an "If you can't immediately and 100% support my true lurv that I just discovered yesterday, even though we both know that you're secretly in love with me and this might be hard for you, then we can't be friends."

Tony, my favorite character in the whole book, the only one besides (dead) Rhode that I really liked, just fell out of the book. And I sort of lost my interest.

But the vampire lore was pretty cool, as were the flashbacks to Lenah's un-life (and don't worry, Maizel is not nearly as dorky as I am and does not refer to it that way). Rhode and Tony are both drool-worthy side characters and make the book worth reading, at least for me. And the ending is really intense. I have no idea how it is a set-up for the start of a series, though. The end seemed pretty definitive to me, but in a world where vampires can return to human form, I guess nothing is really all that permanent.

Book source: Review copy from the publisher through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program


anachronist said...

It's the second review of this book I've read and I trully enjoyed your remarks. I don't know whether I would like to read another vampire story this season, though. First the Sookie Stackhouse series and then "The House of Night" by PC.Cast and Kristin Cast left me rather bruised, especially the last one. I think I need a break.

BTW suddenly all these vampire/ex-vampire heroines need at least two boys vying for their attention. It becomes really annoying.

Heather H. said...

Great review! I think I'll check this book out in the future, despite any faults it may have. I love it when vampires aren't portrayed as fluffy bunnies for a change!

Lawral the Librarian said...

anachronist - I'm pretty sick of the love triangles. At least in the this one, Lenah doesn't waffle between the two guys. Still, she picked the wrong one! ;)

Heather H. - I really did enjoy parts of it! I think my real problem with this book is something that happens in the ending. Much too spoilery to discuss!

anachronist said...

You know sometimes I think there's a dire need of a place where you can discuss a book without omitting spoilers. I don't mind being spoiled btw but I respect people who don't want to know too many details.