THE REST FALLS AWAY
series: The Gardella Vampire Chronicles
Signet Eclipse, January 2007
Vampires roam freely, though hidden among humans, in Victorian London, England. In this first part of a five book series, Victoria Grantworth discovers she’s the next in a long line of vampire hunters. While making her debut in London’s nightlife and defending the city from an influx of vampires, she must also make her debut in the ballrooms and catch the eye of a husband. The two worlds collide, but which life will Victoria choose?
This historical urban fantasy is just what Buffy fans ordered. Follow Victoria as she runs around staking vampires and protecting the people she loves. Fans of Jane Austen might also enjoy roaming around a London populated with vampires. Indeed the novel is very much “Jane Austen meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer”.
I had two problems with The Rest Falls Away. One: for a novel set in London, the language is not British enough. The syntax just isn’t right. It’s kind of like listening to a bad British accent. In this case, not as bad as Kevin Costner in “Robin Hood: Prince of Theives”, but not as good as Gwenyth Paltrow in “Emma”. The text is rich with historical details, and I did feel as though I was in Victorian England, but I couldn’t hear it in the text or dialogue. I counted too many uses of the word ‘betwixt’. I think I was up around 6-8 when I lost count, which is about 5-6 uses too many. ‘Betwixt’ is a word that is not used often enough to fade to the background, so one use per book is about all an author gets. And two: Victoria was awfully keen about staking vampires. She didn’t even hesitate when confronting her first one. And for all intents and purposes, these vampires look just like humans until they reveal their fangs. Personally, I’d have a hard time killing another living being. But for Victoria, there’s no second-guessing, no guilt, no regret. Nothing in proportion to the act she’s committing. And not even when her friends and neighbours turn out to be vampires. I think the book would have been improved if Victoria’s plucky spirit had been toned down, and she’d revealed more of a concern for having to kill creatures that were otherwise very human.
Other than this quirky pluckiness, Victoria is very likable. She does make mistakes, she does make bad choices, and we do feel sorry for her when the consequences hit the fan. I did admire her positive attitude, it’s certainly better than a depressing one, but I’m tired of the naive heroine. Now that Victoria has had an entire novel to outgrow her naivety, I hope her choices will be tougher, and I hope to see her think things through before acting. I enjoyed her most when she was confronted with the tough decisions, and when she squirmed while covering up one side of her dual life. I would like to read more of this troubled Victoria.