The next book I’ll review in this blog is the modern/urban fantasy novel Feeder, by Lucinda Hawks Moebius. Lucinda has been extremely supportive of the online independent author community and devotes a tremendous amount of effort and energy to it, so I’m happy to give her some support back. This novel could be categorized as horror, but I hesitate to call it that because it didn’t seem to be written with the intent of scaring the reader. But of course, as with any book, another reader may view it differently.
The protagonist and narrator of this novel, Maria Christine, is known as a Were, or a Feeder, soul-eater, vampire, demon, etc. Different cultures give different names to her species. Members of her species call themselves Were, and within her species there are different types of Were with different attributes and abilities. The greatest similarity between all Were is the need to feed upon the life energy (that is to say souls, more or less) of living humans. For better or worse, Feeder is a vampire novel. This might be off-putting for a lot of readers, but as they say you shouldn’t judge a book by its genre (well, they say something like that). Every author who takes on the vampire concept puts their own spin on it, and this author is no exception. Rest assured, this book isn’t just a carbon copy of Twilight (thank goodness). Nobody sparkles, nobody is especially attractive, and in fact it’s quite a bit more brutal and gritty than many other vampire-related works I’ve read. Maria Christine lives in the streets. She came from an abusive foster care background and is essentially a loner. The only person she trusts is Agnes, her caretaker and fellow Were, whose manipulations and wicked schemes set our antihero running for her life into an unfamiliar world of warring Were covens and predatory Were-hunters.
It’s difficult to pin down exactly why, but for some reason a good long stretch of this novel felt like an elaborated version of an urban legend. Something about Maria Christine seemed like she could be a monster from this twenty-first century mythology, this glass-and-concrete folklore. Part of this is the way that humans are treated in the book. In short, humans are not characters. They are faceless and oblivious, existing only to be fed upon by the Were. Maria Christine is a sympathetic character, but her need to kill humans to survive makes her into an antihero. I can imagine teenagers whispering this story of story to one another in the same way tales of creatures like Slenderman and Stick Indians were whispered in my own school. Personally I love mythology and folklore in whatever form it takes, so I admire the way this book managed to capture this urban legend kind of feeling.
There is a lot to like and admire in this book, but it did have some downsides. The antagonists aren’t very well fleshed-out and seemed kind of clichéd. Some of the excitement slows down a lot halfway through when Maria Christine finds a more safe and stable place to live, and there were some dull stretches there. And, there were a good number of typos throughout the book. All of that being said, I enjoyed it. Vampire fiction isn’t exactly my cup of tea, but I liked this book and I’m certain that fans of vampire fiction or supernatural fiction or urban fantasy will enjoy it even more than I did.
Cameron W. Kobes is an author from Toppenish, WA. His primary genre is fantasy, though he has also written works in surrealism and magic realism fields. In January 2016 Cameron self-published his first full-length book, Tales of Cynings Volume I, which contains four interconnected fantasy novellas inspired by fairy tales. He is currently writing Tales of Cynings Volume II. On his blog kobescwrites93.wordpress.com Cameron reviews other self-published authors, primarily in fantasy and science fiction. He currently lives in Spokane, WA.
If you are a fan of fantasy, you can look into his book, Tales of Cynings Volume I, in print format or Kindle.