Book Review Vampire A Go-Go
I first encountered Victor Gischler’s prose work with his post-apocalyptic novel “Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse.” It was a book with a really fun sounding title. So it had a lot to live up to, and it more than exceeded my expectations. So I was happy to pick up the writer’s follow up novel “Vampire A Go-Go.”
In “Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse” Gischler did a fun, action packed comedic riff on the post-apocalyptic genre. With “Vampire A Go-Go, the author attempts to do the same things with the supernatural horror and dark fantasy genres. The result is pretty much another home run with one exception.
The plot of the novel finds college student and reluctant hero Allan Cabbot being sent to Prague to help a professor with an obscure research assignment. As it turns out though Allan’s professor isn’t after anything academic though. He wants to find the fabled Philosopher’s Stone, an artifact renowned for its ability to bring the dead back to life. This makes Allan in unwitting pawn against several supernatural power players who want to keep the stone hidden or use it for their own nefarious purposes. Soon Allan finds himself on the run from and caught in the crossfire between a vampire, Jesuit commandoes, a secret society of witches and warlocks, and a malevolent sorcerer.
One of the strengths of “Vampire A Go-Go” is the characters. Allan is a great every man character. He makes poor choices and is by no means an action hero, but you root for him, and by the time the novel is over he grows into the role in a believable way. Also entertaining is Allan’s friend Penny, who has the hots for him and one other terrible secret. The Jesuit Commando characters are also a believable and likeable bunch.
Narrating the story in “Vampire A Go-Go” is the ghost Edward Kelly, a 16th century alchemist. Since he’s been dead for hundreds of years, Kelly has become quite bitter and some of his observations lead to some hilarious moments in an already funny book.
My only real problem with Vampire, and it’s a small one, are the scenes where Kelly is not narrating. In those scenes the action flashes back to the role Kelly played in the story while he’s still alive. For some reason these scenes seem to slow down the story a lot. Whenever I spent time with Allan the story would zip along, but with Edward things seem to drag. It’s probably the case of Allan being a much more likeable character. Still the scenes with Kelly did offer some interesting and funny moments.
So if you’re looking for a fun and funny read that both celebrates and mocks the conventions of the dark fantasy and supernatural horror genre, I definitely recommend “Vampire A Go-Go.