Void City #2: ReVamped

It’s time to return to Void City, that dark metropolis where the creatures of the night roam unchecked. Let’s stake out ReVamped, by J. F. Lewis.

Synopsis:

REVIVED. REFRESHED.
AND READY FOR REVENGE.

Eric has lost his strip club, his Mustang, and even Marilyn, the elderly love of his (mortal) life. Even his body was obliterated. In short, they almost got him. But when you’re a vampire, “almost” is a very important word. With a little magical help from his friends, Eric is restored to corporeal form, but his treasured Mustang gets caught up in the sorcery and winds up with an unlife of its own. Now, along with “Fang the ‘Stang,” he’s out to save Marilyn from one of Void City’s most powerful soul-stealing demons. But salvation comes at a high price, forcing Eric to venture into his own worst nightmare, Vampire High Society, to uncover the truth about the origin of his powers.

At the same time, Eric’s ex-girlfriend, Tabitha, has begun to wonder exactly what it was that she admired about those High Society Vampires in the first place. Her quest to find her own place in this deceptively vicious circle may lead her right back to Eric’s side — if her little sister, Rachel, doesn’t kill her first. And Eric will need all the help he can get, because it looks like someone is after his soul, too. Blood will flow, fangs will be bared, and the claws will come out, because revenge is never pretty…and Eric has plenty to pass around.

Source: Goodreads

SPOILERS BELOW

When we last saw Eric Courtney, Emperor Vampire and Void City strip club owner, he’d been blasted to ash by blessed explosives and was stuck as a spirit, waiting for his body to reform so he could get back to doing the two things he does best: kicking ass and running his strip club. And his strip club’s all burned down.

To be honest, ReVamped wasn’t perfect. I felt like it didn’t do as good a job balancing the perspective shifts between Eric and Tabitha’s chapters; and circumstances repeatedly contriving to prevent Tabitha from telling Eric the truth about Rachel felt more and more forced the longer it went on. On the whole, though, the book was just too plain fun for me to care. As soon as some of Eric’s undead vampiric essence intermingled with his Ford Mustang, turning it into a self-driving, blood-drinking vampire car, I was far past caring about such minor storytelling hiccups or continuity errors. Did Talbot tell Tabitha in Staked that his blood wasn’t toxic to vampires, but tell her in this book that it was? Who cares! Vampire car!

ReVamped significantly broadened the mythology of Void City, expounding further on topics which had been raised in the previous book but not fully fleshed out like the nature of thralls, demons, revenants, and Emperor Vampires; as well as introducing new elements like the fae. It also doesn’t fall short in continuing to provide outstanding action sequences: some of the best moments are when Eric, faced with High Society vampires and all their hypocritical attitudes and overwrought rules, decides fuck the rules and fuck the consequences: uber-vamp smash. Resorting to violence may rarely be the smartest move on his part, but it’s always the most entertaining. And as before, Eric still manages to straddle that line where he’s a bloodthirsty monster whose own poor judgement is the cause of most of his problems, yet I’m rooting for him anyway because at least he tries, dammit.

The supporting cast continued to be a delight: it was nice to see Greta again, good to see Magbidion taking a greater role by becoming Eric’s first true thrall, and great to witness Talbot going all-out in combat against a demon. It also introduced a new interesting secondary character with John Paul Courtney, Eric’s werewolf-hunting cowboy ancestor who is bound to his magic gun and has decided to take up the role of Eric’s spirit adviser, whether Eric likes it or not.

So yeah, another great outing to Void City.

Final Rating: 4/5

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