This is it. This. Is. It.
I have found it.
I have found my favourite vampire novel. All these years of searching and reading through the good, the bad, and the sparkly — and I have triumphed at last! Granted, this doesn’t mean I think this book is for everyone.
First: Like with GRRM’s famed ASOIAF novels, you must be patient. This is not a quick-paced thriller. It takes a good quarter-to-third of the book to really get going. If you’re really into atmosphere and setting, that’s not bad, but for anyone more used to the fast-paced gore-fest that is many vampire novels, this may distress you.
Second: You better like steamboats. No, I mean, you really need to like steamboats, because GRRM is going to steamboat you to death. Does it add to the atmosphere? Absolutely! Do I love it? Yes! And no…I won’t lie and say I didn’t skim a wee bit when it came to some of those bits.
Three: Not all of these characters are likable. Again, for those of us who read ASOIAF, this is nothing new. But I will say that there was one character in particular whom I not only vehemently loathed, but I honestly wasn’t too interested in reading about. That’s really the only thing that disappointed me — for all of the disreputable and unlikable characters in ASOIAF, they are (usually) at the very least still interesting.
Other than that? Brilliant. Southern gothic horror and historical fiction at its best! The vampire as I like to see it: bloody brilliant and dangerous as hell.