27 March, 2018


Title: Parasite Life
Author:  Victoria Dalpe
Series: n/a
Genres: Horror, Young Adult
Publisher: ChiTeen
Release: October 10th 2017
Source: eBook
Pages: 206

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Jane lives alone in a strange old house with her invalid mother who has been catatonic for years, afflicted by a strange wasting disease. But the friendship of a new girl in town, Sabrina, will push Jane to unearth the mysteries of her mother's past and the dark history of her missing father, forcing her to face a monstrous lineage and the cost of her dark life.


EXPECTATIONS: Had nothing better to do than to snag a book from the offered ones for review. I mean, if you've nothing better, vampires is always the right call, isn't it? I didn't really have much expectations here, other than getting a different kind of vampire, maybe something like in the "Let The Right One In", or even fresher than that. In a sense, that's exactly what I got.

THE WORLD: The setting is some small town in America, where even the portrayal of the big city not too far away feels a little bit bland due to protagonist not being so very interested in her surroundings. I mean, she was interested in a sense where a child is happy and spooked at the shiny lights all around, but all we got were an art gallery, a very creepy little restaurant, and polished concrete apartments. The polished concrete seemed to be the theme of the big city, while creepy old house or modern new house belonged to the small place where Jane lived. In other words, nothing special, much like in Anne Rice works: the world is behind the window.

CHARACTERS: Jane's mother was a very talented red-headed painter whose life fell apart when she met Hugh McGarrett. Hugh had a gallery or connections or both, and wanted to put up her work. One thing led to another, and Jane's mother found herself head over toes for the man. Just to end up pregnant and see his true face. Hence, Jane. Unloved, unwanted, and pretty much hated little creature she lives her life trying to survive, and keep her dying mother alive, at least until she's 18, and can be on her own, instead of getting into the system of foster houses. Her mother is riddled with scars, and it takes a very long while for Jane to figure out where they come from. In fact, it takes a whole other person too. Meet Sabrina. A beautiful, lively goth girl who doesn't seem to have the primal instincts everyone else has. For everyone's skin crawls when Jane is passing by, thus everyone shuns her. But this lack of fear is Jane's salvation, and, seemingly, the doom of Sabrina. For, pardon me, but Jane's a delusional, messed up in the head monster with a rapist cherry on top. Very soon in the plot Sabrina is drunk, in her bed, with this creature gnawing on her. All to wake up, kick the instinct to run, and then forgive. For Jane seems to be figuring what she is, and thus needs Sabrina, who can drive and has friends, and warm blood, and lack of fear, and thus is easy to manipulate - to drive her on the quest to find her father, who wanted absolutely nothing to do with her. Jane hopes to find answers or at least get lessons. And oh, Hugh has lessons alright, being just as depraved beast if not worse. Through the story Jane walks with a sense of being, in her own words, not selfish, and apparently even giving. All the while doing everything to negate those traits she believes she has with her actions.

ROMANCE: Jane is sure she's in love with Sabrina, but the only kindness she offers the girl is the end of it all. She feeds on her, manipulates her into wanting to forgive her, feed her more, feed her when she doesn't feel like. The romance is one way: I love you, I need you, so believe me, you love me too, my tasty little morsel.

GOOD: While I really disliked Jane's character to great extension, at the end of the book I realized the author might just be a bloody genius. Sure, emotions I felt were very negative, but she did a brilliant job of evoking them with the things that were happening, without pointing to things directly and saying "here, this is bad, hate it". Instead you're welcome to see the world from the monster's perspective. The whole "I did bad, but for reasons, and my reasons are valid, so it must not be that bad" kind of stuff. Besides, this was an interesting take on vampires, and I don't mind it. The ending was good too, for while with my own resentment I felt like laughing at the ridiculous ideas Jane had, I do approve what happened. Even if she believed she saved herself, while she really, really didn't, it closed the plot very well, and put the final right strokes in the picture of understanding why Jane is not a human.

BAD: Plot hole. Jane's mother fed her blood she milked from sources. But blood packs are never considered, even if transfusions used to help with the hunger at childhood. Next plot hole: "I searched everywhere in the house" except that one place where the object of searching was.

OVERALL: This is not an easy or pleasant read. It's dark, it's gory, it's not about humans. These monsters will come to you and ask you to pity them, have mercy, be friends. But they'll use you, abuse you, and likely - kill you. But. In a sense that's a very classic vampire trait, and I think if Stoker wrote Dracula from his point of view, we might have seen something familiar there too. So I must say, in my eyes, author deserves a spot in the shelf with her inspirations.

What do you think about PARASITE LIFE



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