Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Tenth Grade Bleeds

Level: Teen
Genre: Urban Fantasy> Vampire
Obtained: Borrowed from room mate
Reviewed by: Nic Echo

Oh, what to say about this cover? Like the others, I think it does an excellent job at bringing in its intended audience, which is the best thing a cover can do. Again, I am liking the stark contrast and using only one colour. It certainly makes the book stand out on shelves.

About the Book:
Vlad is now entering the tenth grade, and it seems his usual troubles are following him; mainly he has someone else trying to kill him -- again. However, this isn't the only issue Vlad is having when it comes to his vampiric nature. Vlad's hunger has been increasing immensely, and he is finding it harder and harder to resist feeding from humans. To top this off, Vlad is alone in his struggles since he is unable to contact his Uncle Otis, and Henry seems to be wanting less of Vlad each day.

Rating: 5/10 (7/10)
In case you don't know by now, the first rating is for a general audience, and the second rating is for the intended audience.

Talk about a sense of deja vu, but I could have sworn that I've read this before. Now, I understand that many series end up repeating plot outlines, but there comes a time when it starts to grow dull. I have read other books where the plot nearly always ends up with the antagonist trying to kill the protagonist (Harry Potter, anyone?), but the journey usually varies. When it comes to the Vladimir Tod books, however, most of the plot seems extremely similar to the other books in the series. Every book, so far, has someone hunting for Vlad, Vlad learning more about his vampire powers, Vlad making googly eyes at Meredith, blah blah. Now, each book does add a few more elements. Ninth Grade Slays introduced Vlad's training, Eddie's stalking, and more  information about Vlad's parvus status. Tenth Grade Bleeds creates more tension between Henry and Vlad, along with an ever increasing blood lust. However, even with these added elements, I seem to be hearing the same song.

But what did I think of the specifics of this particular book? The tension between Henry and Vlad was interesting, and I could see many wondering if Henry will remain Vlad's drudge. Because of the tension between Henry and Vlad, we get to witness Vlad hanging out with people other than Henry and Meredith. Remember the goth kids Vlad used to see hanging out on the school steps all the time? Yes, we get more scenes with them. I have to say I had mixed feelings about the goths. On one hands, I really liked that Brewer showed them as fairly normal teenagers that just happened to like alternative things. The thing I disliked was all the fake Gothic names. Having been and hung out with goths during high school, I rarely came across goths that created their own names. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but it's not as common as people seem to think. Guess it's just a pet peeve of mine. Again, I really liked that Brewer didn't make her goths have a darker than the blackest night type attitude. In fact, their attitudes were pretty varied from the pretentious Kristoph to the highly energetic Sprat.

I did feel there was little tension from the person hunting Vlad, however. Besides the fact that we have another two-dimensional character, he ended up having a severe weakness. Now, I am all for characters having weaknesses, but Ignatius extreme aversion to sunlight made him a fairly useless threat since he was only able to move on a moonless or overcast night. True, he is supposed to be this scary vampire, who excels at pain and torture, but seriously, this guy can only move two to three nights a month. It just loses a lot of tension.

The other problem that I had with Tenth Grade Bleeds involved Vlad and Meredith. After dating a little over a year, Vlad realises that Meredith is his one true love. Yeah ... I'm sorry but that bothered me even as a teenager. I am really hoping that Brewer makes it where Vlad only thinks Meredith is his ultimate love. I doubt it, but a boy can dream. In relation to all of this, there is also a bit that really bothered me. It does contain light

At the end of the book. Vlad is at a school carnival with Meredith, and, out of the blue, he pulls the "I need to hurt her to keep her safe" crap. You know, sometimes this can makes sense, but I really don't think he needed to emotionally harm Meredith. Not to that extent anyway. Seriously, he could have easily just said that it wasn't working out or that he was having issues so he couldn't emotionally handle a relationship at the moment. Okay, so the latter would be a bit unlikely for a teenager, but it is still an option and not a completely out there one (even for a teen). I guess you could argue that it could give Meredith hope, causing her to wait for Vlad, which kind of ties in with my other problem of Vlad's "I need to hurt her to keep her safe" malarkey. In continuing with my last thought, I'd like to point out why it wouldn't be horrible for Meredith to wait. The harm that Vlad is keeping her from is his ever increasing urges to feed from the source. The thing is that Vlad will be able to control this in time. This is not a forever thing. Granted, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Vlad's "harm her to keep her safe" bull. I've already commented on how Vlad could have let Meredith go better, but I am seriously at a loss on why he had to hurt her. Now, if Vlad's enemies had threatened or tried using her to get at Vlad, I could maybe see him wanting to push her away for good, but this never happens. What's more is I don't even think Vlad's enemies know about Meredith, except Joss, who no longer seems to be in the picture. It seems that Vlad is only protecting her from his blood lust. As I already pointed out, Vlad will be able to control this at some point. However, the point I want to make is it makes little difference whether he wants tasty blood or not. The fact is that Vlad is keeping who he is from Meredith. Now, there is nothing wrong with not telling her straight off the bat, especially considering what severe implications could come of him telling her. However, the fact remains that she is entirely in the clueless about a major part of Vlad. I'm sorry, but you cannot keep up a good and well balanced relationship for a long time if you are keeping a secret of that size from you significant other. So why not find a way to tell her or, at the very least, don't be a dick when you let her go. I realise Vlad was looking out for Meredith, but there is no logical reason why he had to let her go the way that he did/ Oh, never mind, I know why. For angst.

I am sure there was another flaw I found with the book, but I have been working on this review for too long, and this book isn't that memorable so I'll skip to the overall. Like the other Vladimir Tod books, I can't see many people enjoying it over the the series' intended audience (though reviews seem to show otherwise. Personally, I found Tenth Grade Bleeds repetitive and merely okay. I'll probably still finish the series, but only for review purposes and the fact that the books are easy reads. If you liked the other Vladimir Tod books, I would suggest picking this one up as well, but if you merely found the series to be okay, like me, Tenth Grade Bleeds doesn't add much so you are likely to be just as bored.

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