Fangland Review



I finished Fangland by John Marks this afternoon.  I have mixed feelings about it.  Not really what you want to feel as you finish.

The book centers on Evangeline, an assistant producer for a major network news show.  She goes missing in Romania while on assignment.  While there she encounters the vampire-like enemy, Torgu.  His motives and method of subduing his victims are outside the box, which was one of the highlights of the story.  Evangeline and Torgu get back to New York where Evangeline’s coworkers have been infected as well.  It’s a struggle for both readers and the news reporters to figure out what’s going on.  Complicating the effort is the minimum of three narrators.  It adds to the mysteriousness at first, but by the end it added only pithy filler.

There were times, the first half especially, that were quite thrilling.  I’m not usually a horror/terror  reader, so it was kind of scarey in my opinion.  The second half steadily declined.  It got wordy and drug out the ending.  The ending itself had a twist that I didn’t see coming, but to be honest, I was happier that it was finally over.  The story would have been much better if it stayed focused on its assets.  The struggle with the vampire in Romania was thrilling and nail biting.  Like all good things, it was over too soon however.

One of my biggest problems with the book was its incorporation of the terrorist attacks on New York in 2001.  I think it was intended to show the magnitude of the fear and the vampire’s power as the characters are journalists working in a building next to the Trade Towers.  It came off as irrelevant though.  It was interjected every few chapters to remind readers, yes, the setting is in New York, and it felt more like someone name dropping their celebrity clients than it helped the plot.  It wasn’t a big point, but I was so annoyed with it by the end that it overshadowed other, less irritatating points.

In general, the book was just ok.  I sound really negative about it, but it wasn’t terrible.  It certainly wasn’t the devourable (no pun intended) book I was looking for between classes.  I give Marks credit for creating a vampire character that is built on very few of the traditional stereotypes.  It was a unique take on a very written about figure.  I agree with reviews by New Dork Times and Sharp Words, though, that it failed to live up to many of its glowing reviews.  Lots of potential-less than impressive delivery.


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