One of the books I had the privilege of proofreading recently is called Being Human by Patricia Lynne. This is her first book and I’ve already asked her to keep me informed about anything else she puts out, even if I don’t edit it. The book revolves around the after life of a vampire named… well, I probably shouldn’t tell you his name. In his world, to know one’s name means that you have power over them. In fact, there’s a young woman he tells his name to and then corners her friends, demanding they tell him her name so that he can counter her power over him. This vampire is turned at 15 years old and the book follows him for roughly 20 years after that event. One of the things I loved the most about Being Human is that the book covers the 20 years in five segments with time gaps in between. Lynne didn’t get cornered into the idea that she had to explain every moment of his life and let herself tell his story through the major events.
I love vampire books. Given the choice between a modern vampire novel and a classic novel, I’d pick the vampire book. Actually, I’d probably grab both and run away before you tried to take one away, but let’s run with the original decision. Like most readers, I hear vampire novel and think, “Vampire meets human girl, falls in love, and spends his after life trying to protect her from everything that tries to keep them apart.” Being Human has a bit of that kind of story in it (for those of you who can’t stand the idea of missing your vamp/human love story), but that isn’t even close to the majority of the story. One of my biggest complaints about standard vampire stories is that I want to know, “Why this girl?” Usually the answer is something like, “She smells good. She’s unusual.” Being Human has a better answer. You’ll have to read the book to get that answer, but trust me, it’s good. It’s understandable. And it’s really, really human.
The bigger love story in Being Human is the love story between the vampire and his human twin brother. I’m not a twin, so I don’t know anything about the bond between twins, but I’ve met enough twins to believe in it. This bond extends beyond death for these brothers and ties the vampire to humanity in a way that is unique among vampires. Most of the vampires in this book kill their families, no matter how close they were to them in life. After being turned, the only thing vampires care about is survival. That means that the sleeping human in the other room is fair game and they don’t feel any guilt about feeding from their gene pool.
In Being Human, vampires don’t retain memories of their human lives. They know how to walk and talk and they have instincts that teach them to hunt humans, avoid the sun and Vampire Forces, and survive, but they don’t understand why humans do the things they do. Well, that’s not entirely true. The vampire in this book understands why humans walk for exercise, because it keeps them healthy and helps them survive, but not why they walk for pleasure. One of my favorite scenes in this book is when the vampire is taught how to brush his teeth. Do you ever think brushing your teeth is weird? I don’t. Lynne wrote the scene in a way that kept me in the book, but made me step back and think, “Wow, that is a strange practice. Spreading goo over your teeth to make them smell better.” Almost as strange as people going to school dances where no one dances.
Being Human is almost ready for publishing and I highly recommend you buy it as soon as it is. You can follow Lynne’s blog here: http://plbjourney.blogspot.com/