Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Pining of Kevin Harding by Devon McCormack

Kevin doesn’t want to be a vampire. He doesn’t want to kill people to live and so far he has resisted – but his master is getting impatient and his power and control is impossible to resist

Do vampire hunters offer another risk – or a final opportunity to escape?

This one didn’t work for me – for several reasons, but largely down to the whole thing feeling rushed and slap dash.

We have a world with vampires – vampires that are masters and create hives of drones that are compelled to be loyal through various supernatural beings – but we never really go into that, into what it means to be a vampire, into their society (which they clearly have), their physiology or much of anything else. There are vampires, some are masters. That’s it

Similarly there are hunters who manage to drive the vampires to hide and run all the time – yet at the same time seem to be a highly disorganised group of individuals with, at best, loose contact and organisation (as opposed to the vampires). Yet at the same time seem to be able to invent nifty vampire killing tools including a special vampire dissolving acid… none of this is essentially contradictory but it is highly unlikely without some more actual exposition

The world building feels like it wasn’t so much built as bits were thrown in when it was narratively convenient without any attempt to make any foundation or extrapolate on these elements that were created, leaving gaping holes, lots of fuzzy areas and leaving me somewhat bored and disinterested.

Which applies to the characters as well. Morgan is a one-note damaged hot guy with a tragic backstory who will be cured with the magical sexing. Dax is the rather simple buff hot guy who… know I can’t even expand on that. That’s all he is. Kevin is a somewhat blah character from a somewhat blah background who is… somewhat blah. I can’t really point to one memorable thing about him. He apparently always wanted to be an actor, but is painfully shy and introverted. He’s pretty childish which only manages to pass because Morgan is so much more EPICLY childish (complete with massively whiny tantrums) that Kevin’s own immaturity is masked. That’s kind of all I know about Kevin – he’s a vampire, he doesn’t want to be, he’s whiny, he’s shy and introverted and he falls in love waaaay too fast.

Ironically, the bad guys – Kevin’s master, Kevin’s master’s enemy and   are more developed. But only because the master’s enemy had to engage in a massive convoluted info-dump to try and justify his utterly bizarre actions.  Not that they are developed particularly – for all of his massive info-dumped past (whyyyyy?), Kevin’s master is just old, powerful and bizarrely infatuated with Kevin after facebook stalking him. And? She’s just evil. Sadistic and monstrous without even the slightest shred of human development – and since she’s the only real female character in this book that is doubly shady. I also don’t remember a single POC in the book – the only diver element was the men being gay.

And to the under-developed plot. The romance happens because of… because. Because sex, basically because there is absolutely nothing else about these characters to develop. Conflicted loyalties are clumsily ignored, Dax, Morgan, Ride, Kevin – with all their issues just… end. No resolve, no development, no path – just resolve. Just because. Just end. Along the way we have lots of sides changing and willing to fight for each other without (unsurprisingly) any development or reason behind it.

The actual battle and non-romantic plot ends by a completely unknown bad guy suddenly appears from nowhere, expositions a lot of desperate attempts to push a storyline and thenall the bad guys are out of the picture and we creakily stutter towards a happy ending with so many loose ends it’s unbelievable.

Was there a potential for conflict? Sure, Kevin could figure out what to do as a vampire alone… except a solution just happens (and it’s ludicrous. Really it’s so simplistic and implausible I think I gave my eye sockets friction burns). Or they could debate the morality of being a vampire and having to kill… except they don’t because after spending most of the book declaring he’d never be a murderer it seems that he doesn’t have to be. Or he stops caring. Or… I don’t even know because the book ends without actually dealing with the blood drinking thing. Or the hunters! Hey they wanted to kill vampires, maybe they could…. Nope. Even the love triangle ended with no real conflict! We have a happy ever after slammed down on the characters by simply ignoring anything that doesn’t fit or waving a magic wand over them and deciding they’re all perfect.

This whole book is just… lazy. Nothing was developed, no character was really fleshed out and the plot was rushed through with lots of convenient events to just make it work. Was there a deadline that needed to be hurried to? Because it feels like that – rushed and with no real wish to write it.