Recap #82: Song of the Vampire by Carmen Adams
[Wing: OH NO THAT COVER. We’ve come a long way from the fun of The Band.]
I stand corrected with now knowing that Adams also wrote THE CLAW, a Point Horror addition that the lovely ladies at The Devil’s Elbow already recapped. I’d never heard of it, but should I stumble across it in my used bookstore wanderings I’ll have to grab it.
Remember how I said Adams wrote level-headed and realistic characters that weren’t caricatures of humans? Well, that’s still true, but where Adams’s development was a little better in THE BAND, in SONG OF THE VAMPIRE we got some major plot-serving going on served with a tall Dumbass Daiquiri, complete with a tiny umbrella. She got significantly better with descriptions in this book, throwing down on page two what Megan and Iris look like, however, she does bleed a little more into making Megan look a little more than average in this book.
I had a harder time separating my Lost Boys love from this book, and maybe it’s just me, but I ultimately felt her descriptions were a little lacking here. Where she really amped up the setting of Blue Mesa and ambiance as their own characters in THE BAND, here, while she didn’t short on description, it definitely didn’t feel as involved. There was a moment, and I’m pretty sure it was just the one, where her grasp of feeling and setting really came back to life. But I found myself really looking for that mood-setting tone that Adams has throughout the book and didn’t find it.
Still, she watched The Lost Boys and was like I WANT TO WRITE THAT. And she did. And despite the flaws I still love her for it.
Fair warning: this recap is going to be gif-heavy to supplement the heinous eye roll moments and to throw down the epic Lost Boys love that is this story.
[Wing: This is legitimately the most Lost Boys story I’ve ever read, and I own the damn movie novelisation. It is fucking amazing. And sometimes terrible, because COME THE FUCK ON, MEGAN, YOU ARE BETTER THAN THIS.]
Beware of tall handsome strangers—
Who sleep by day . . .
and play at night.
Don’t be taken in by cool violet eyes—
Even if they’re wild and exciting . . .
and speak of romance in the moonlight.
Listen to the warning of the fortune teller—
Who foretells a terrible danger . . .
That lurks in the shadows of darkness.
Run for your life—
Unless you’re ready to face the evil . . .
And destroy it — or die.
Dun dun DUN. And yeah. In proper horror movie fashion, no one listens to shit.
[Wing: It’s not quite Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. But it’s pretty much the next best thing.]
Santa Carla Turo, California is nestled between LA and San Francisco. If you’re looking up at the ceiling and second-guessing your idea of where those two places are in California, stop. You’re not off. That is a HUGE swatch of land, roughly six hours of driving time, to give as bookends. There is mention, much later in the book, that Iris’s aunt, with whom they stay in Turo, drives to San Diego and back for a meeting. So I’d guess far closer to LA (which is already two hours north of San Diego in SoCal driving time) than San Fran.
It’s a seedy little town dotted with fast food places and pastel beach cottages, a bandshell on the beach, and the boardwalk itself. In Adams’s book the boardwalk is an actual wooden structure on pilings and runs for about two miles down the beach. It’s littered with hot dog stands, game booths, period photo shops, salt water taffy stands, t-shirt shops, fortune tellers, and at the very end is the amusement park. It’s run down-looking with a crumbling-looking roller coaster and a huge ferris wheel. Of course the town itself doesn’t wake up until closer to noon, which is when everything starts kicking. And the town itself is littered with freaks and weirdos that make Iris blend and Megan’s girl-next-door look totally square against it all.
Runaways make the space under the boardwalk their home and you can find them camping out there overnight. And don’t you know, where there’s a transient population there are vampires. It’s, as they say, become a haven for the undead. As a result the body count’s increased and a rather supernatural reputation is starting to spread because of that.
This is where our protagonists spend most of their time. They do spend a very small amount of it back in Blue Mesa, but they’re in Turo from chapter five.
Megan – She gets a better description in this book. Here she’s called fresh-faced, long-legged, girl-next-door. Her hair’s shoulder-length, thick, shiny, and naturally curly. She believes this to be her best feature. She’s athletic and outdoorsy and goes for a five mile run every morning. She and Iris are now best friends thanks to that thing they did with The Band, but Megan still thinks Iris a bit of a weirdo and tries to “normal” her out a little bit. So much for accepting someone as they are. Granted it’s worked just a little bit. She’s about as much of an influence on Iris as Iris is on her, helping her focus more so she can study. She’s in an “old shoe” relationship with Toby. That’s not supposed to be a bad thing; it’s just that their relationship is very normal, no frills. No wild anything, which she gladly accepts.
Iris – Small and wiry, she wears her hair gelled into styles that make her look like old rock stars (not necessarily sure that’s a bad thing?). She wears cat-eye glasses and is up to eight earrings and counting in her left ear. She and Megan rarely speak about The Band incident but are both well aware that it’s the catalyst that brought them together. They both consider themselves killers of the undead. However, Iris is shit at driving.
Derek Beckett – His front is that he’s an associate professor in Parapsychology at Wilson College north of LA. Actually he’s a friend of Lucien Levant. Just shy of middle age, about 35ish (eye roll), thin, wears a black suit with a black shirt buttoned to the throat but no tie. He has nearly white hair that’s shaved short and wears tiny wire-rimmed glasses and sunglasses. He has an English accent and according to Megan he’s kind of attractive in a too-hip sort of way.
He’s part of an international underground that began over 100 years ago in Transylvania. They keep an eye out for vampires, revenants, and any other Undead. He claims he was hovering in the background while Megan and Iris took out The Band as a means of testing them. He’s always looking for recruits who need to be fearless without being foolish (which is not our Frog girls, unfortunately, at least Megan, anyway), have nerves of steel, be an astute judge of character (looking at YOU, Megan!), and be skilled at perceiving what is false (apparently it’s opposite day when it comes to Megan).
Aunt Candy – aka the female Grandpa Emerson related to Iris. She’s a kookie weirdo who lives by herself in a cottage on the beach way past the populated areas of town. It’s a house that could use some love, described as small and ramshackle, porch boards sagging with age and cats everywhere. Of course.
She’s a total Trekkie complete with a giant satellite dish on the roof to pick up more reruns than a person could watch in a single sitting. She’s in her mid-thirties (OMG I’m now the same age as the parent fodder aunt in YA, ugh), has white-blonde hair, and greets the girls wearing a Hawaiian print bathrobe and sunglasses. She’s a bit of a ditz but has enough of her head about her to be a successful real estate broker. She herself has a clean house, if not filled to bursting with STUFF. She’s effectively a well-organized hoarder.
Puncture – The creep ass band that are totally vampires and you know it the second they appear on the page with absolutely no red herrings to divert suspicion but in which Megan and Iris conveniently look right through them. The group consists of brothers Noah and Ethan Sloan, Noah being Megan’s love interest here, along with Jade Demaris and Billie Segal. [Wing: Billie is, alas, a dude, because god forbid we have more than one girl in a group of vampires. Spoilers: It’s as if Adams actually heard me make this complaint from the future and gave me the great premise of all by the end of this book.]
Megan and Iris are just hanging out for the summer as school’s just getting over. Megan doesn’t have a whole lot planned and Iris was set up to be her uncle’s accountant at his salvage shop. Then Megan gets a call, seemingly randomly, from Derek Beckett, asking them to meet him as some seedy bowling ally in the desert. He lets them know that he knows about their work with the Band and he’d like to recruit them for another job where a lot of teenage lives are on the line. He alludes to being well-connected with excellent intelligence resources and says that the bowling alley is where they conduct a lot of their meetings since it’s so noisy.
Despite the shade, Megan and Iris agree. Derek told them their reputations preceded them and that made them a bit nervous, the fact that they had undead-killing reputations at all. Not sure who would know except Derek because there weren’t any survivors when they got rid of the Band but whatever. While they’re driving out to the bowling alley they have a total moment of clarity that I kind of love. A real come to Jesus moment that puts everything into perspective. They seriously considered not taking Derek’s offer because they were aware that them killing the Band was probably a fluke and they really didn’t want to die. Being normal was really growing on them.
When they actually meet Derek and he explains what’s going on, despite their drive for normalcy, they feel really bad about all the kids dying in Turo. Despite all his self-proclaimed excellent intelligence-gathering resources Derek and his employer know there are vampires in Turo but don’t know what disguises they’re using. They’re hedging their bets that the vamps are posing as teenagers since that’ll get them in easier with the teenage runaway crowd and he needs Megan and Iris since they’re young and will be better-able to infiltrate their group if that’s the case. I imagine all other teen recruits up and got themselves killed in the line of duty and Derek was short on options.
Their cover will be working at the Turo Summer Music Festival, [Wing: What this festival actually is was nothing at all like what I thought it was based on this scene. I think I was too excited about the Frog Sisters.] where he’s already secured them jobs, and they’ll be staying with Iris’s aunt Candy, which Iris conveniently forgot even lived in Turo.
Of course they agree (otherwise we wouldn’t have a book) and on their way back to Blue Mesa they nearly get run off the road by a van with heavily-tinted windows. The notion is that if the vampire hunters have good intelligence, so do the better-connected vampires, of which the Turo vamps might be. We don’t know, because apparently Derek’s intelligence isn’t THAT good. And unfortunately this is a one-off incident. Used as a scare tactic to build some tension before they even leave, but it’s a moot point because it never happens again.
On of my favorite things is how aware of their own mortality Iris and Megan are. Unlike our dear Frog brothers, who go into any situation balls first because the good guys always win, Iris and Megan are uncomfortably aware of their own mortality as they dive head first into this and they really hope they live to see the next school year. They’re like the Sam Emerson of the group. Reluctant and overeager to not get too deep into things and get themselves killed.
Unlike the Frogs, Megan and Iris get for-real training, but not, like, Buffy-like training. More like a crash course on the undead and book-learning.
Of course Derek rolls up to Transylvania Tech (his term, not mine) in a vintage red Thunderbird convertible. I mean, what else would he drive? And it stands in stark contrast to the facility itself, which looks like an abandoned hangar in the middle of a desert that’s going to seed. And truly all of their training is book stuff, like vampire history, lore, how to recognize them. All of that.
PS: Central Operations for this whole anti-undead thing is out of Montana. They host seminars, in case you’re interested. [Wing: I am deeply interested.]
Anyway, this is where they learn that as field operatives it’s imperative they know how to spot vampires: fingernails like glass, aversion to daylight, cold stare, otherworldly detachment, nearly immortal, sleep in coffins, fangs. You know, the ushe. YOU WILL NEED TO REMEMBER THIS, READER. Because no one else does. It’s the shadowiest foreshadowing ever and it’s like the Frogettes get brain-drained before they drive up to Turo. [Wing: Donna is not exaggerating. Not a bit. It is the most heartbreaking part of this book.]
During this whole lesson Iris is the one coming off like a rock, not even blinking as Derek lays it on thick. Megan, on the other hand, is trying to hide her quivering. It doesn’t help that Derek, again with all of his incredible intelligence, can’t tell whether the vamps they’ll be facing in Turo are connected to the intelligence network so he has no idea if Megan and Iris are made before they even start. GOOD LUCK! *waves*
But at least he gives them his self-titled Dracula Destructor Kit complete with a half-dozen stakes and heavy mallet, three branches of wild rose (when placed on top of coffins it supposedly keeps the vampire inside, not sure how you’re supposed to get the lid off to stake the vamp, place it on their forehead? I have no idea. Seems a bit shaky), twelve heads of garlic, mirror, box of matches, and a sprig of wolfsbane (which vampires supposedly hate). Along with this he gives them cash for expenses (how nice), a letter of introduction to the guy they’ll be working with for their cover, [Wing: I actually forgot about this part; at this point, I thought the guy they’re working for would be in the know, but the actual guy seems to be completely out of the loop and also terrible.] and warns them to watch their necks.
Before they leave Megan’s “protect people for their own good” notion rears up in Toby’s face when she tells him she’s leaving for the summer but doesn’t divulge the real reason why. Because of everything he’s gone through he just can’t handle it, right? [Wing: Well, he was pretty useless last time.] Poor Kevin, I mean Perfect Boyfriend TM, I mean Toby.
Iris didn’t have any problem convincing her parents to go to Turo but Megan hit a snag when her mom reminded her that she was starting grad school and she needed Megan home to watch her little brother a couple days a week. Enter conniving planning involving overblowing what Megan will be exposed to at the festival in terms of her career in order to guilt her parents which results in her mom deferring her enrollment so Megan can go to Turo. That rubbed me the wrong way because it’s so stupidly selfish and I wish Adams used a different reason to throw a wrench in Megan’s spokes because it just made her look like a spoiled brat.
Initially Megan’s excited to basically win the standoff about going to Turo, but then she remembers why she’s going and sobers up. They’re going to kill undead things. But she also admits to herself that going back to normal after the Band was really hard for her to do and she actually gets a high from the excitement. A little bit of an adrenaline junkie going on here. For once she felt she was good at something and liked feeling like a superhero and was actually craving to feel that way again. The rush of defeating the Undead was addicting.
This could have been the start of something fantastic. From Derek’s greater organization to Megan’s growing addiction to killing creatures of the night. But nooooooooooo. The series got canned. Boo. [Wing: I am heartbroken. HEARTBROKEN.]
So Megan and Iris road trip it over to Turo and when they drive into town, you know. People are strange.
They head over to aunt Candy’s first and she might as well have been playing dead on her front porch for all the weirdo she is. Like Grandpa filled his house with way too many dead things, Candy filled her house with random crap. Luckily the room the girls get has the least amount of crap of them all.
Megan takes this chance to go for a run and leaves Iris to clear up some family stuff. Megan claims she likes running because it gives her the perfect cover to snoop without looking like too much of a creep. She claims to wanting to find where the carnival ends and the dark side begins. She does notice that the ride operators are true carnies, rough-looking people whom she pegs as lowlifes. And the cops don’t pay much attention to what’s going on under the boardwalk.
When her search shifts to looking specifically for signs of the undead I go
Isn’t it noon? Weren’t you told vampires have an aversion to sunlight? Just what, uh, are you expecting to find?
No. No it doesn’t. Not for the undead. [Wing: She also thinks that surfers just now hitting the beach are after the early morning waves, so … Megan is already showing signs of logic failure for plot purposes.]
When Megan asks a random gas station attendant if there are any jobs and he tells her there’s nothing around, you can reference that same video I posted above with Michael. Because samsies.
She was somewhat successful in at least small chatting with some runaways before they completely edged her out. She did try to pass off as a runaway herself, what with her workout gear and shades. Not sure how well she fit in. Unless she’s getting her gear from Mugatu.
It’s here, while under the boardwalk, that Megan gets this weird sixth sense going on that 1) could prove useful if Megan ever had it fucking turned on during the rest of the book and 2) Adams describes in the most excellent of ways. I was waiting for this little tidbit of description that’s otherwise lacking in SONG: Shadows gathered like wool, warm stale air turned suddenly cool and moist and a smell circled around her, not of the sea but of cool, damp earth. Ugh. Love it. Megan likens it to a graveyard odor and she knows they’re close.
Their first day on their cover job proves a lesson in patience as both Iris and Megan can’t much stand Mr Pelty, the festival director, a man who takes ushering far too seriously for his blood pressure’s good. Iris even takes to mocking him some. Go Iris.
Immediately the two decide to not stick around and make friends with their co-workers because it seemed that most of them were rich kids placed in a cush job for the summer. Befriending them wouldn’t help their vampire quest. Whatever you need to tell yourself, ladies.
When they’re at Candy’s having a glorious dinner found only in prepared steam bags, she warns the girls to watch themselves on the boardwalk. It’s the first time they’ve seen her serious and it strikes something in them. She mentions things are getting creepy and weird and that runaways are disappearing in greater numbers. The town has always been friendly if not a little run down and seedy (not sure how seedy and friendly go together, but whatever), but the creepy element has been moving in. [Wing: Well, she says she can see how people might call it seedy, but mostly the people who live there feel safe.]
She casually mentions a cult that was just outside of town [Wing: As a random fucking aside! I want to know more about this!] and that she recently rented a rundown roller rink to a rock group of kids not much older than Megan and Iris. Candy says that the group was chilling. Literally. She got close to them and the temperature dropped a few degrees. Of course Megan relates this to the cold and damp she felt when she was under the boardwalk.
The connections . . . They’re going so good so far . . . I would hate to see them DISCONNECT.
Megan and Iris venture out onto the boardwalk at night to check out the scene under the guise of working for a teen magazine. They notice that Turo is filled with young, funky, slightly weird people and people dressed uniquely. Iris fit right in with her off the rails style and Megan was the one standing out in the crowd.
Here is where I really noticed Adams’s shift in storytelling from being wholly within Megan’s head, like in THE BAND, to focusing on the external to tell the story. I think there’s more than enough here going on to fund that notion, but it’s a very drastic change in writing style from one book to the next in what is basically a series. It’s different, but not in a bad way. [Wing: I prefer this style a lot, even if The Band was a better plotted and characterised book.]
Enter the brothers Grimm. One blonde, the other brunette with a strong family resemblance. They had high-planed cheeks, pale creamy complexions, soft, full sensuous lips and pale violet eyes. They started chatting Megan up while she waited for Iris outside of a fortune teller’s tent and she didn’t have any problem slipping into the roll of a fake fortune teller to flirt with them.
The blonde guy offered his hand and the second Megan took it she became frightened. His hands were cold like what she would imagine a corpse to feel like.
His nails were shiny, like they were covered in a cellophane gloss and his skin was flawless.
Basically he completely creeped her out, but instead of telling him to go pound sand she figured she’d committed to the palm reading and shotgunned something out for him. Some random stuff about how he has a twisty long life line and that it’d bring trouble for him and for others and both brothers were like
So their names are Noah and Ethan Sloan (Noah’s the dreamy one sliming all over Megan) and they’re in a band named Puncture.
OF COURSE Megan’s all thinking about how there was something weird about them but intriguing at the same time and she was drawn to him because he was the exact opposite of Toby. Noah seemed practically unknowable. But we shant remember that the members of the Band were the exact same way and that never comes up AT ALL. It’s here that Megan basically considers cheating on Toby because where’s the harm and no one in Blue Mesa will find out anyway.
No, Megan. No. This really bothered me probably more than it should have. Not that I give two licks about
Kevin Toby, but just how callous she was about all of it. Like oh what does it matter? No one will know. Like, is Toby that disposable? Really? I felt like this whole portion of the book was really underdeveloped and kind of throw away for the sake of getting Megan involved with these guys. Not too well done here on that. [Wing: It feels really rushed. The whole thing feels rushed; she’s professing love for him shortly, and while there’s a small nod to the vampire making her feel love, it’s waved off as her actually falling for him. If this book took place over the entire summer and not just a few days, basically, that might make more sense, but the relationship, her feelings toward him, everything is rushed.]
When she comes back to planet Earth and remembers she’s in Turo for a reason she asks if she could interview the band for her magazine and the Grimm boys were all for it. Except no pictures. They don’t do pictures.
Iris comes out when the brothers are still there, but they jet not long afterward. She’s not having any of their cuteness that Megan things they have and thinks they have a drug problem what with the corpse-like color of their skin.
[Wing: SERIOUSLY. Megan, at least, could be written off as being charmed by the vampires, but IRIS. SERIOUSLY. I do not buy this for a minute from either one of them, Adams!]
When it’s Megan’s turn to go into the tent and get her fortune told that gut instinct that went into hiding when the brothers were around comes right back out around Stardust the fortune teller. [Wing: STARDUST. Do you have a boyfriend who was almost named Moonbeam or something?] She immediately felt she could trust the woman and the fortune teller foretells about a handsome stranger that won’t be what he seems. Megan tries to get her to elaborate and Stardust points to her Egypt, the Sphinx, that just so happens to be the name of the bar Puncture is playing and where they invited her. Most ominous of all, Stardust warns Megan that she can’t see beyond what’s about to happen in Turo because it’s so big and then warns her about dropping off around people Megan doesn’t know.
This reassures Megan’s feelings that they were close, that they were on to something, and the vampires were in reach.
Yeah, they were, Megan. They literally were.
Iris crumpled a little under the weight of her own fortune with Stardust telling her she saw blood. But Megan tells her to buck up. That is until a runaway washes up under the pier with a mangled neck. Yeah. Buck up, buckeroo.
When Megan confides in Iris about her crush on Noah Iris isn’t digging it. At all. She calls them the ghoul twins and ends up being really sarcastic about Megan’s crush in an attempt to get her to focus. Except even Iris is stupidly obtuse when it comes to them. Both of these girls have the vampire survival skills of a blood bag in a shark’s mouth.
Thank Iris for getting them into Sphinx with her style and as soon as Puncture took the stage Megan was lost to them. Watching Noah she felt he was central and crucial to her world and felt magnetized by his presence. Watching him she felt on another plane entirely, alone with him despite the space between them. History is stepping on her neck and she just doesn’t feel it.
I get it. This can be teenagers making bad decisions. But it’s like the last book didn’t exist. Like they learned absolutely nothing. All that training they did before coming to Turo? Gone. I mean I can maybe give Megan a pass because she’s falling under thrall, but even Iris is plot-servingly stupid in all of this. I never noticed this level of obtuseness before and OMG it’s bad.
Megan finally gets backstage after the set and when she tries interviewing them they dodge questions about themselves but allude to having been around for a while. They’re a slouchy group who drape themselves over everything, yawning constantly like they seemed bored with everything. When they start fawning over her Megan still doesn’t make any connection to what the Band did to her, however, she did feel a constant need to leave and felt weirded out being around them. So her gut isn’t completely broken. Just mostly.
Before she leaves Megan and Noah end up making out, which she doesn’t feel guilty about even as she compares his kissing to Toby’s. Noah says he doesn’t use phones and will find her around because they have a chemistry they need to explore. Gross. But Megan’s like oh totally. When she touches his hands again they’re searing warm and she knew she should be worried but whatever protective mechanism existed inside her was turned off. The book actually says that, not just me. So now we’re back to knowing something is off but doing fuck all about it.
She and Iris had split up before Megan went into the interview in order to double down on coverage. When they meet back up Iris says that word on the street is that there are vampires in Turo and all signs point to Puncture. Three of their groupies are among the missing.
In other news: sky is blue. [Wing: I do love that all of the teenagers in town know what the fuck is up, and are just rolling with it. Vampire band? Sure, love their music, don’t get close. Next.]
Derek ends up meeting the girls on their way back to Candy’s and he warns Megan that a vampire’s kiss is the most powerful tool of seduction they have. That it makes their victims fall in love with them. Vampires are basically animals living from feeding to feeding. They don’t care about anything except their next blood fix. While he’s not pleased about Megan’s budding relationship he thinks it could ultimately work in their favor if Megan can keep her wits about her.
Good luck with that.
Derek’s got some great honesty going for him. When Iris mentions she’s afraid he’s like, just now? You should have been scared in the bowling alley. He doesn’t mince words with them and treats them like adults. It’s a nice reprieve from your more traditional condescending adults in YA. He says that only fools, heroes, or heroic fools take up this line of work.
Megan managed to snap some discrete photos of the band during her interview and when Iris gets them developed they find that the band members are transparent and shimmering at the edges. Megan’s denial lasted for about a nanosecond and then resigned to the truth.
Don’t worry. That happens like four more times before the end of the book.
The book has this habit of reiterating to me that Megan’s instincts are stellar yet she’s getting slapped in the face by a bloody vampire fish and she doesn’t know it. Or she does but doesn’t but he won’t hurt her and she doesn’t and blah.
Megan knows deep in her cockles that Noah won’t hurt her despite all the evidence to the contrary. At least while Noah is sweet talking her she’s sad on the inside about having to kill him although there’s still a part that’s lured by him regardless. Which I totally get. But Megan’s proven herself to be obtuse and irrational and makes a shitty vampire hunter because of it. Iris too. Let’s not leave her out of this. Both of them wouldn’t recognize a vampire if it came up and started talking to them. Literally.
She admits to herself that she felt sorry for the Band and didn’t actually like killing them. She was incredibly aware of their restlessness and felt it in her bones. [Wing: I like this bit a lot, and wish it could have been explored more in future books. While the vampires here are murderous, the Band was mostly just heartbreaking. Different ways of being the undead, different emotions in the vampire hunters, same result. And that would be really interesting.] Noah feeds her a line about being different from other girls and she, smartly, tells him he barely knows her. Of course she says that while thinking she’s falling in love with him. It’s been like a day. Just in case you lost track of time here. And she thinks Noah is starting to fall in love with her too. They make out again and even through this she’s thinking about how they’ll ultimately kill each other.
Kevin Toby is a distant nothing in Megan’s mind.
Iris calls Megan on all of this when she gets back from her date with Noah and Megan gets defensive about it, claiming her instincts are solid (no, they’re not) and that Noah won’t hurt her (wrong). While she was out Toby drove up to see her. Whaaa whaaa. Lucky for her Iris had her back and didn’t disclose where Megan actually was.
That same night Megan was lured out of Candy’s house through a dream. When she wakes up she finds herself way over her head in the ocean and being attacked by Puncture band member Jade. Iris is like uh . . . Noah’s like her? And Megan’s like nuh uh.
Except when one of the groupies Megan saw when she was interviewing Puncture ends up missing that she can’t deny the connection. Again.
Together she and Iris steal the key to the rink from Candy and sneak into it when they know Puncture will be playing. The rink area itself is set up with couches and musical equipment and practice areas and set back are the members’ own private rooms. They end up rooting through closets and find clothes older than time (probably older than they would otherwise survive in reality but that’s beside the point). [Wing: Even though we’re told earlier in the book that vampires are sentimental and cheesy, I seriously do not see them carrying around all their old clothes. COME ON.]
Iris finds some old photos that show the brothers and when Megan’s like maybe they went to a vintage photo booth Iris isn’t about to put up with that duncery. She points out the brothers are transparent in those photos too.
They make their way down to the basement, Megan taking the lead because, as she readily admits, Iris has been the brains so far and she should at least be brave. What do they find? Coffins, of course!
Iris, like in THE BAND, continues to be the voice of reason in Megan’s growing obsession with Noah (but for some reason she doesn’t associate Megan’s feelings to any kind of thrall of vampire spell or anything) and keeps reminding Megan about
Kevin Toby. Yet despite all the mounting evidence, enough to fill a grave, you could say, Megan still insists on holding a candle for Noah.
When Megan goes out running early the following morning she stumbles upon a crowd of people gathered around a body. The body of the groupie she saw with Puncture when she interviewed them.
When Megan confronts Noah about being a vampire (while on another date with him, of course) he doesn’t deny it. In fact he admits to being born at Luxor, to a pharaoh, and he’s been with Jade for 700 years. He calls Jade his soulmate and that’s why she tried to drown Megan. She doesn’t like the competition.
Never fear! Megan gets the urge to fall asleep around Noah!
He says he’d never hurt her and Megan convinces herself it was because he loved her and, of course, she loves him and that exempted her from all danger. So he lulls Megan to sleep and she just lets him do it because she’s an idiot. [Wing: It is at this point I decided to just roll with the idea that she completely under his thrall and the few moments of sense we get from her were her fighting hard to get out of it. Because I really, truly love huge chunks of this book, but the way Adams is writing Megan and Iris to try to build tension is ridiculous. They are trying to kill vampires! They could know exactly whom the vampires are and it would still be tense! She could know and still fall in love with him! GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER, ADAMS.]
She wakes up and continues to rationalize the relationship yet when she tells Iris she took a little nap with Noah, Iris loses her shit on her. Go Iris! And then Iris points out that Megan has puncture wounds on her neck and OMG I FUCKING TOLD YOU SO.
Without pause Megan runs over to the roller rink to give Noah a piece of her mind. She confronts him while he’s climbing into his coffin to sleep and when he practically ignores her she physically yanks him out of the coffin to answer her. I really wish there was more of this Megan in the book instead of plot-servingly dumb Megan.
It’s no surprise that Megan wouldn’t know she’s been fed a line of bullshit if her lips were directly puckered against a bull’s asshole. Because Noah’s all like oh woe immortal coil. Save me from this tedious life. Alas! There is a way! They can exchange blood! Megan can give Noah half of hers and he would give her half of his and then there’d be a chance that her blood would win out! But don’t tell anyone or it won’t work!!!
At least she had the brain cells left to ask what would happen if Noah’s blood won out and whether that would make her a vampire too, but he was asleep before he could answer. I WONDER.
And her dumbass still considered it.
At this point Iris isn’t any help. She knows exactly what’s going on but she’s effectively enabling Megan to continue on like she has instead of slapping the stupid out of her like a good friend would.
Megan made an excuse to Iris to spend some time by herself without telling her why. Iris relented and during this time Megan allowed herself to actually think of Noah’s proposal. Why, I have no idea. By the time the sun goes down Megan makes up her mind: she’s going to do it.
Except when she gets back to the rink she stumbles upon the male members of Puncture talking about her. I imagine they’re some of the shittiest vampires ever if they didn’t hear her come in but whatever. They’re all scoffing and laughing about Megan actually buying into Noah’s schtick and how Jade can teach her girl vampire stuff and they’ll just need to get used to each other. When Noah mentions that Megan has a killer instinct she freaks out and runs away.
She gets back to aunt Candy’s house where she confides everything in Iris, who promptly says I told you so. She also reaffirms Megan’s killer instinct, just that it’s to kill the undead, not people. [Wing: AGAIN. This point has so much potential.]
Enter vampire-killing planning.
Except they just spend a bunch of time with Candy going shopping and doing their hair and nails and calling it war paint. Whatever. If it helps them get into the vampire-killing mindset. Then
Kevin Toby comes up and they all go to breakfast where Megan divulges everything (except her tryst with Noah) and Toby’s totally understanding. To the point where he admits that he thought Megan was out with some other guy and that he should trust her more. At least Megan had the good graces to feel totally guilty about that.
When Megan asks Toby for help roping the vampires in he jumps at the chance in order to help give back what he owes to the girls for saving him from the Band. They want him to pose as a runaway in an attempt to get closer to the vampires so that Megan and Iris can find their hiding places and kill them. Because they scattered when Megan failed to show up and they’re no longer staying at the rink. Seems like a gamble considering the number of runaways but whatever. And the book explains this convoluted portion of the plot in much the same afterthought sort of why. Because as the reader you should already know that they have keys to the rink thanks to Candy and can just go over there and nail their asses. Nope. BTW, they scattered.
Toby ended up hooking in Billie and Ethan and Megan worried that because Toby was so susceptible to the Band that he could easily get roped back in again. Pot, meet kettle.
The vampires walk Toby back to their little hiding cave in an outcropping of rock on the beach and don’t actually do anything with him. They say goodnight and just leave him at the mouth of the cave. Uh, thanks? Of course Megan and Iris scoot right on in after them.
They get into the cave and see that the vampires are glowing, which no one told them. When they sleep they emanate a smoky blue glow, like the flickering light of a television. Another thing no one told them was that vampires sleep like they’re dead, with their hands crossed over their chest and everything. Easy pickings.
They don’t waste any time and Iris walks up to Billie and jams a stake into his heart. He wakes up instantly, howling more like a wolf than a human, as he scrabbled to pull the stake out but didn’t have the strength. Then he curls into himself and slowly starts to grow transparent, fading away in wisps of blue smoke. Then poof! He’s gone. No one told them about that either.
No surprise they’re so enraptured by Billie’s death that they forget about Ethan who attacks Megan. Iris comes to the rescue and while Ethan has Megan pinned to the ground rams a stake through his back and into his heart. He disappeared much the same way Billie did and Megan freaked out a little because she was way too close to that stake point for comfort. Iris, being a smartass, told her she shouldn’t worry. She had it calculated down to the zillionth of an inch.
All that was left of Ethan and Billie were piles of clothes when they left.
Even on their way to find Noah and kill him Megan still claims she loves him. Ugh. For Christ’s sake, Megan. Stop it. [Wing: Summer romances can be intense and overwhelming and fast. But this is too fast even for that.] They enlist runaways to help them look. The girls split up again as Iris goes with a guy she met when they first arrived and Toby kisses Megan before going off on his own, which she swoons over.
Eventually two girls lead her to where they think Noah is and instead of waiting for Iris to get back she goes on her own, as she’s wont to do. It turns out he’s hunkered down at the bottom of a boat on the pier, sleeping like the dead. I still can’t picture this, though. He would have to be visible enough for his glow to be seen, so how isn’t the sun toasting him alive? I have no idea.
Megan hesitates before driving the stake in, which proves bad for her as Noah wakes up. His eyes are yellow and animalistic shot through with veins. His face is contorted into a death mask with greenish flesh that’s saggy, like he’s someone who’s very old. And his fangs are yellowed. Gross. When he spoke it wasn’t the voice she knew but an evil, sinister one.
She’s so startled that he gets a leg up and actually pins her at the bottom of the boat. Trust Iris to save the day yet again as she comes up out of the water and yanks Noah in. Because it’s daylight he isn’t at full strength so Iris can hold onto him, but Megan will need to drive the stake in. Once she does he goes poof like his bandmates.
Three down, but no one can find Jade.
Turns out she was hiding behind an electric sign the same color as her sleep glow. Again, not sure how this works unless there’s an alcove where she can sleep and not get touched by the sun. [Wing: Right? So confused by these sleeping arrangements.]
She rolls up with a girl biker gang at dusk to tell Megan and Iris all of this. It’s fairly obvious Jade had turned the group of women, especially when she openly starts talking about her vampire life. She wasn’t upset to lose her bandmates but she threatens Megan and Iris all the same before she and the girls ride off into the night. [Wing: ADAMS, HOW CAN YOU GIVE ME SOMETHING SO PERFECT AND AMAZING AND WONDERFUL AND YET HAVE MADE THE TERRIBLE DECISIONS YOU MADE IN THE REST OF THE BOOK? YOU ARE THE MEGAN RIGHT NOW.]
Megan and Iris try to keep up their facade at the music festival but they’ve had enough with Mr Pelty’s nasally shrewness and Megan tells him off and quits. She and Iris spend the rest of their time in Turo basically relaxing.
Derek shows up and congratulates them on their three kills and reminds them they’ll never be able to sleep good again thanks to their work on the Band and with these vampires. They’re known now and they’ll always need to be on the lookout. Great! [Wing: Derek is the harbinger of joy and rainbows and sunshine. I love him.]
As a reward he gives then Noah’s car, a black convertible, to replace Iris’s shitbox. Megan goes back to Stardust to see if her fortune’s any clearer and it is. Toby’s still in the picture, and so is college, but her time killing vampires isn’t over. Hooray?
When they get home a month later they’re rather listless and Megan’s dad offers to take them for pizza and then to rent a movie. He recommends Interview with the Vampire.
Har. Har. Har.
I feel like Adams almost forgot how to write a book with SONG OF THE VAMPIRE. There was something really good here and there were so many ways in which to take the story, but instead she made everything so incredibly and unabashedly obvious that there was never any question to anything. She took all of the fun out of reading. I mean really, she couldn’t make the brothers fresh off a kill so that they blended in a little better and didn’t look like walking death? Or not put Megan’s meeting with them so close to her getting her fortune told about strangers who aren’t what they seem? And then have her and Iris be so incredibly dense to it all? It was insulting, is what it was.
It was like she ran out of fucks to give and that was incredibly disappointing. What was also disappointing was that she mostly abandoned her mood-setting storytelling evident in THE BAND here. She focused more on external descriptions to set mood and took herself out of her characters’ heads more. As I mentioned above it’s a very interesting tactic to take on what is basically the second book in a series. It just felt very different in that regard and didn’t read the same as THE BAND did.
I’m torn on the series killer, though. Part of me is thankful that no more books were written if SONG OF THE VAMPIRE’s lazy writing is what the rest of the series would be like. The other part of me wonders what could have been. So much was set up here, from Derek and the whole underground vampire-fighting agency so Megan going to college and fighting more vampires being foretold by the fortune teller along with Derek telling the both of them they’ll never sleep good again. It’s all there. And it was cut off at the knees.
Despite all that, though, it still holds a dear place in my heart thanks to all the Lost Boys love it has. It’s not all that well-written, but it’s obvious Adams had a similar love for that 80s mullet movie that I do and I can’t fault her for that. She got the scene right and the ambiance. Despite its flaws it still moved in and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get it out regardless of how dipshitty the characters acted and how comically obvious every single plot bunny was. Ugh. Come on, Carmen. You couldn’t try a smidge harder? Throw us at least one red herring, maybe? Just a tiny one?
[Wing: I really, deeply love this book, despite how ridiculously bad it is at times. It is the most Lost Boys book to ever Lost Boys, and even though the writing is super, super sloppy with the characterisation in particular, I love the hell out of it. There’s so much potential in these characters and this world, and I wish we’d gotten more. It was a whiplash reading experience, because some of it was so entertaining and so fun, and then there was the Megan ignoring all signs of everything, and how rushed the plot felt.
I actually liked the external descriptions more than the internal focus of the previous book, though the writing was definitely stronger there.
All in all, I’m pretty damn glad I got to read Adams’ work thanks to this site, and I’m sad there aren’t more books.]