REVIEW: V-Wars by Jonathan Maberry

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars, Genre: Horror/ Vampires, Pages: 384, Reading Level: Easy

Book Description:

“A sweeping, threaded narrative of the global phenomenon known as the Vampire Wars! Mankind is silently infected by a millennia-old bacteria unknowingly exhumed by a scientific expedition in Antarctica. Now, in some rare cases, a person’s so-called “junk DNA” becomes activated, and depending on their racial and ethnic heritage they begin to manifest one of the many diverse forms of the “others” that are the true basis for the legends of supernatural creatures. These aren’t your usual vampires and werewolves- it goes much deeper than that. Conceived by Jonathan Maberry, V Wars features stories from various “frontlines” as reported by such contributors as Nancy Holder, Yvonne Navarro, James A. Moore, Gregory Frost, John Everson, Keith R.A. DeCandido, and Scott Nicholson (as well as Maberry himself, of course). The result is a compelling series of tales that create a unique chronicle of mankind’s response to this sudden, hidden threat to humanity.

For readers who enjoyed;

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War
Robopocalypse
30 Days of Night Omnibus
Complete Zombies vs. Robots”

I am just going to begin any review of a book by Jonathan Maberry with the disclosure that I am a bit biased. I absolutely loved the Benny Imura series (Rot & Ruin) and even though the Joe Ledger series is not my genre, I did give Patient Zero a high score because Maberry’s writing is phenomenal and if it was one of my preferred genres, it would have rated high.

If V-Wars had been written by just Jonathan Maberry, I would have given it 5 stars.

The description states- For readers who enjoyed World War Z and Robopocalypse, along with two other books I have not yet read. I enjoyed both WWZ and Robopocalypse immensely, in fact the former made my top ten list. However, I know a lot of people had a difficult time with WWZ and Robopocalypse got mixed reviews from those I know who read it. In addition, there are a couple of major differences between those and V-Wars.

WWZ comes across as a documentary. It is a series of interviews. V-Wars is not. It is straight up fiction. Robopocalypse is sequential. V-Wars is not. It jumps back and forth in time.

Probably the major similarity is that V-Wars is also told from different points of view, but each point of view is written by a different author. This is the first time I have attempted such a book and aside from one or two issues, I really enjoyed it. In fact, I will eventually look up works by the other authors.

Now to the story. V-Wars tells the events of vampires emerging, or re-emerging, into society. I know what you are thinking… The vampire thing has been so overdone, how could any vampire story be different? Trust me, this one is. Okay, I am guessing. I haven’t read all vampire novels ever written, but I think this really is a new take. First, the premise is everyone carries the vampire gene; it’s just inactive. Second, there are different types of vampires. Numerous in fact, based on ethnicity, even region. That was a stroke of genius, in my opinion.

How many different legends have you heard about vampires? Maybe there is a reason for that and it doesn’t have anything to do with inconsistency. If there are all kinds of different people with varying physical attributes, personalities and abilities, why wouldn’t logic dictate that vampires would be the same?

I’m not going to get too much into the story. I think those two details are enough to tempt you. If you enjoy vampire novels, I am confident you will enjoy V-Wars. And by the way, I really like the Twilight jab and the Eliot Spitzer reference. Or should I say Carlos Danger? I will never be able to hear Spitzer’s name again without thinking of John Oliver’s Carlos Danger bit. I actually downloaded a ringtone.

Now to a few of my issues…

Keith R.A. DeCandido and Big Charlie

I loved the story about Big Charlie. My biggest issue is in chapter 6 when DeCandido portrays a fanatically fundamental religious group. I’ll give you one guess what ‘ethnic’ group they belong to- that’s right, they are from Iowa- backwoods, inbred hicks because ALL religious fanatics are white country folk who work farms, were fed Mountain Dew in their baby bottles and play banjoes.

And just to be true to the stereotype, DeCandido attempts to reproduce their unique vernacular. For example, he uses y’see about a dozen times in the few pages of the pastor’s speech and he ends -ing words with -in’. This reminded me of a high school classmate who said all you have to do to speak Spanish is add an o to the end of every word. Unfortunately, DeCandido is inconsistent. I started marking the -ing words that were not altered. Someone who really speaks that way, does not mix it up.

Big Charlie’s scene takes place in the Bronx. Where is the attempt to reproduce that accent? If he had written other sections, would he have attempted to reproduce other accents? I doubt it. But country bumpkins are fair game, right? Because there are no other types of religious fanatics to be found in the United States. And all religious fanatics speak that way. Everybody knows that.

Like I said, I really enjoyed the story, but this type of inconsistency and yes, hypocrisy, drives me nuts. It perpetuates the stereotype that all country people are uneducated, illiterate and racist. Just as he did not include the numerous ‘uh’s that seem to be prevalent in a lot of speech today, there was no need to do the whole hick vernacular thing; DeCandido still would have made his point by writing normally.

Scott Nicholson and Heartsick

Again with the stupid hicks. What the hell? Now in all fairness, Nicholson doesn’t make the mistake of attempting a stereotypical accent, but he makes the lead male character a dyslexic, racist, misogynistic, wife-beating, high school dropout:

In a way, women were like Injuns, always wanting a little more than they were due, or else expecting equal treatment when they surely didn’t deserve it. p191

Artus thought she talked pretty good for a Jap… p186

Really? Again, because only white country bumpkins are wife-beating, misogynistic, high school dropouts. You never find any of those in the inner cities.

I loved this particular short story even though it is not an ongoing storyline, and the twist at the end was wonderful. But can we please give the poor country folk bashing a rest? It really becomes quite tedious after a while.

Editing

Who edited this? There are a lot of editing, or maybe more accurately, proofreading issues. Some sections seem to be worse than others. I didn’t notice quite as many in Maberry’s sections as I did in others. So did each author use his or her own editor? I couldn’t find that info in the ebook but I did order a hardcover copy, so I’ll check to see if it is only the ebook, although based on the errors, I am guessing it is not.

I don’t usually mention editing unless it is distracting. It was. There were periods missing after sentences. There were spaces missing, combining two words. Sometimes there was an extra word, i.e. ‘She was just was standing there.’ That is just an example by the way, not an actual quote.

However, unless that is one of your things, it probably will not make a difference in whether or not you like the book. The story really is that good.

Bottom line, I highly recommend V-Wars.

Reviewed by Christina
October 18, 2013

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