Thursday, December 8, 2011

Savor by Megan Duncan

Title: Savor
Series: Warm Delicacy
Author: Megan Duncan
Length: 2762 kindle units
Rating: 3 stars

The Plot

The vampires that rule Claire’s society ask only a small price for their benevolent leadership: regular donations of blood from all citizens. On Claire’s 18th birthday, she registers her blood type with the government and is astonished at the response – Her blood is so pure that the king and queen want to make her their vampire princess. Claire is sad to leave her friends and family, but she quickly grows enamored with her new family and lifestyle. 
Even so, her life at the palace is far from perfect. Claire must contend with the painful transformation into a vampire, members of the royal household who are jealous of her position, and her new family’s expectations of her as heir to the entire kingdom.  As she discovers more about her role in vampire society, she begins to wonder whether being a vampire princess is more complicated and dangerous than she ever would have expected.

The Good

I did not go into this book with high expectations. Like everyone else, I’ve read enough vampire books to last me for at least the next twenty years or so until they come back into fashion. I nonetheless found myself getting drawn into the story. Claire’s voice is cheerful and engaging, to the point that the plethora of missing commas did not bother me nearly as much as it ordinarily would.

Savor adds a twist to the traditional vampire trope in a manner reminiscent of Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampires series. (I also just noticed that the main characters share the same first name, which loses Ms. Duncan an originality point.)  Claire’s world is technologically similar to our own, but regions are divided based on how they deal with vampires. Claire’s new family brought peace to the region by agreeing not to attack humans so long as they donated their blood to the vampire leaders. There are hints that other countries deal with vampires differently, though we have no concrete information.

The Bad

Savor prompts me to offer a piece of advice to all aspiring authors: If you do not automatically put a comma between two independent clauses – or if you aren’t sure what an independent clause is – I beg you to find a friend who does and have them go through the manuscript with a red pen. Your readers will thank you.

My other issue with the book stems from Claire’s emotional changes. I don’t know about you, but if someone knocked on my door and announced that I was to become the new vampire princess, I would have more than a few questions about the motives of those involved.  Claire, on the other hand, is sad to leave her best friend and has a few suspicions about her new family, but these are put to rest with a single conversation. Over the next few days, Claire gains a new best friend and decides she loves her new family, even though they fill her schedule with mysterious rituals about which they will tell her nothing.

The Romance

If it is true that we read YA paranormal novels primarily for the romance, then Savor is something of a disappointment. We meet a potential love interest in Dmitry early on, and he and Claire come to care about each other, again rather more vehemently than one would expect over the course of a few days. Especially when those few days involve many major life changes like moving into a palace and becoming a vampire. No matter what Claire thinks, this does not bode well for a lifelong romance

Fortunately, we have a number of hints throughout the novel that Claire has another mysterious romance option, and we finally meet Arrick about three chapters from the end. His entrance is accompanied by more secret rituals, as well as a climactic battle scene, but that doesn’t matter because Claire feels that oh-so-important intangible connection between them that can take the place of a getting-to-know-you period.

Will I read more?

I would say that the most disappointing thing about Savor is that I came out of it feeling like I had only read half a book.  Throughout the course of the novel, I found myself wondering what the “catch” is in Claire’s perfect new vampire life. I start to suspect that maybe there isn’t one, that maybe everyone is exactly who they appear to be, when I am hit ten pages from the end with a boatload of evidence to the contrary. Thus, I feel like I have to read the next book if I want all the issues from the first book resolved.

The other question, of course, is whether I care enough about what happens to the characters who read it. I am leaning toward yes at the moment, but I make no promises.


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