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Children of the Night by Dan Simmons
Competently narrated. Entertaining. Possibly somewhat educational -- set in just-post-Ceausescu Romania; the historical details and sense of place seem plausible. The historical details about the career of Vlad the Impaler seem less plausible but an afterword insists they are meticulously researched and true. Hm.

Vampire theme of the "vampirism is due to virus/genetic condition" variety.

I wasn't crazy about the author's habit of deliberately pre-describing key plot details. ("Little did she know that a week from now she would have...")

View all my (goodreads.com) reviews.

There has been discussion elsenet lately about what "strong female character" means in a work of fiction. This book has a protagonist who qualifies somewhat as a strong female character. She is a top research scientist, divorced, not looking for a relationship. However, early in the book she lets herself be led around by men a lot. For example, she is describing to this one man a Romanian orphan child who is very ill and she says the child will die without someone to care for him. The man says "So, adopt him." She decides to (and I have trouble with the idea that this occurs to her only because a man suggests it). And from that point on, a great deal of her behavior is motivated by non-rational "maternal instinct." Later in the book, even though she has acquired something of extreme medical importance that will be able to save millions of lives, this is only of secondary importance to her and she is motivated almost exclusively by "I have to rescue my child at any cost." Wanting to rescue your child is a valid motivation, but I keep suspecting that the character is female only because the plot involves rescuing a child. Maybe I'm being too cynical.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
mjlayman
Aug. 11th, 2008 01:18 am (UTC)
Argh. Vampires. I'm reading Jim Butcher's Storm Front for bookgroup next week and I am forcing myself through the infodumps and the wildly implausible happenings. I'm just not the right reader for paranormal stuff.
firecat
Aug. 11th, 2008 02:45 am (UTC)
You'd probably like Children of the Night better than what you're reading now. I don't really believe that a genetic mutation/virus can actually cause super-strength and near-immortality, but there's no paranormal in it per se.
tedesson
Aug. 11th, 2008 02:47 am (UTC)
The only thing I recall from that book is the climbing scene just before the climax, but then, I read it a long time ago.

I'm fonder of his science fiction than his horror, except for _Summer of Night_, which I loved. He's written a sequel to that, just recently.

His series on writing is quite good.

Peter Watt's theory on the origin of vampires, as in _Blindsight_ is also plausible. That's available online, and is a terrific read.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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