Vampire Syndrome

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I met another writer online named Daven Anderson. Thanks to our friendship via Facebook, he sent me an autographed copy of his book, Vampire Syndrome.

Daven is a supporter of people for people with special needs, such as those with autism or defects like Down Syndrome.  In fact, the main character in this book has Down Syndrome.

His hero is Jack, a track runner for Special Olympics in Colorado. He is bitten by a rabid vampire, causing him to become one himself.  This marks him as a target by a Chief Venator named Damien (think of them as “vampire hunters”).  Jack also has an ally in Lilith, the president of the vampires.

I found this book to be well-paced.  I liked the fact that Jack is often underestimated and uses this to his advantage.  With Lilith’s help, he quickly learns to adjust to his newfound abilities.  In Daven’s world, vampires come from another planet called Sekhmet.  These beings transfer their vampirism to others through either a rabid bite or sexual intercourse (Daven has actually written two editions of the book, with the young adults edition eliminating the sexual content).

Lilith is an intriguing person.  I got the feeling that she wasn’t someone who could be trusted, so I kept wondering what she was really planning.

Damien is a great villain. I liked how dedicated he was to his profession.

This is actually part of a series. I will gladly read the others as I acquire them and give you reviews here.

My Top 10 X-men

When I was into comics, there were a few superhero comics I loved. One that I followed religiously was X-men. I loved the concept. These were heroes who were not respected for their powers, they were feared. They were cast out. As a kid who was in special needs classes, I could identify with that. True, my family loved me, but my peers often didn’t understand me.
With the new X-men movie Days of Future Past coming in May, I thought it would be a great idea to count down my top 10 favorite X-men.

10. Beast–I always gravitated to the smart characters, and Beast is a very intelligent character.  I find it interesting that at one point, he tried to reverse his mutation, thus creating the blue-haired, furry scientist we know today. (originally, he only had oversized hands and feet) Besides, it’s funny when he hangs upside down and reads.

9. Jubilee–For many years, X-men had characters that were meant to be audience surrogates, and Jubilee is one of them. Sure, her power set may seem lame, but she still serves the purpose of audience surrogate by showing us what it would be like to be the youngest member of the team, a role that was previously served by Shadowcat.  Jubilee was a lot of fun.

8. Gambit–Gambit is the, er, wild card of the group. Maybe I like him because we’re both from Louisiana. Or maybe it’s because he’s one of the dirtiest fighters on the team. My only beef is that I wish he’d pick a side already.

7. Iceman–one of the original founders of the team, Iceman was basically the Guy Gardner of the team. The jerk who makes you wonder why everyone puts up with him. To be honest, I was introduced to Iceman through the Spider-man and His Amazing Friends cartoon in the 80’s.

6. Phoenix–Phoenix is a true powerhouse in the psychic department, nearly turning evil when she couldn’t control her powers during the “Dark Phoenix” storyline (which was not represented well when it became the third X-men movie. Just saying).  Yeah, her story is a tad convoluted, but I like her just the same. Besides, I’d love to have telepathy and telekinesis.

5. Storm–The thing I love the most about the X-men is their family dynamic. Storm is pretty much the team mom. And the fact that she has weather powers makes her motherly personality perfect sense.

4. Cyclops–the main hero of the team, next to Professor X.  I love his take charge attitude. He is a true leader and a student of the Professor in every respect.

3. Shadowcat–In the 80’s, Shadowcat was the audience surrogate. She partnered with Wolverine, who took her under his wing and turned her into a legitimate fighter who used her powers to great effect.

2. Rogue–I always felt sorry for her. She couldn’t touch anyone and she was probably the most emotional member of the team.  I loved her arc from villainess to heroine and she got lots of great development, especially under the comic’s best writer, Chris Claremont (Fabian Nicieza is a close second).

1. Nightcrawler–Aw yeah, love the fuzzy elf!  He can teleport, is a good with a sword, and he’s witty. Plus, we’re both Catholic, a fact that is not mocked by the writers, but played very respectfully. Always a plus when the writers treat a religion with respect.

I can’t wait for the Days of Future Past movie, even if it’s not a completely accurate translation (Sorry, but Shadowcat doesn’t have time travel powers.  Her consciousness travelled through time, not her body.). They will always be my favorite team.

 

The Divergent Trilogy: Allegiance

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Well, I finished the Divergent trilogy and just in time, because this month, the movie for the first book hits the theaters. The trailer looks good, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

I have to say I like Veronica Roth’s writing style so far.  She does a great job of framing this world, even with the fact that she’s only focusing on one city. She knows just how much to tell and how much to show.

This time, the narration is shared between the two protagonists for the series, Tris and Four (note: yes, I know Four’s real name. I’m trying to keep my reviews spoiler-free.) It was interesting because now we got to see how Four views the world and see Tris from someone else’s perspective, something you don’t see in first-person POVs.

I like the message of this trilogy.  We still believe that we can put people in boxes and that they will behave a certain way. I’m against this sort of thinking and I like how this book illustrates the fallacies, even when geared toward something positive. We are all “divergent” in some way.  I’m proud of my differences from what society expects of me.

It’s been great to read this trilogy and I’m eager to see what the movie does. I’m really hoping that they adapt all three movies without splitting them up.  (I’m sick of that trend that started with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It really feels like Hollywood wants to milk the adaptations, especially in the case of The Hobbit and Hunger Games movies.)  I do plan to review the movie on here as soon as I watch the DVD.