Saturday, September 3, 2011

Review: Eighth Grade Bites (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod #1) by Heather Brewer

Synopsis: Junior high really sucks for thirteen-year-old Vladimir Tod. Bullies harass him, the principal is dogging him, and the girl he likes prefers his best friend. Oh, and Vlad has a secret: his mother was human, but his father was a vampire. With no idea of the extent of his powers, Vlad struggles daily with his blood cravings and his enlarged fangs. When a substitute teacher begins to question him a little too closely, Vlad worries that his cover is about to be blown. But then he faces a much bigger problem: he's being hunted by a vampire killer. Source

Plot: The book follows a vampire-human hybrid, Vladimir Tod. He leads a normal life except for the bloody snack packs, morning routine of applying sunblock, and still grieving over the loss of his parents. The first book was an incredibly good read. I was hesitant to read the book because it is in a guy's perspective and doesn't have as much romance as I usually like. However, Heather did an amazing with Vladimir. He is still in middle school, but has already seen and knows many things. He is still growing up and immature, but has enough maturity from his experiences to see the logical option in a situation. He is suspicious of his new English teacher and trying to find out his father's past. I felt Vladimir was so lonely during all the events because he is the only hybrid and is the only vampire he knows of. It was hard to see him struggling to figure out every mystery with also having to find himself. But, he does have people who love him: Henry and Aunt Nelly. They have their flaws, but support and love Vladimir. Along with them, I see Meredith, Vlad's crush, as a growing love interest, but I feel disconnected with her. She wasn't someone I truly felt would compliment Vlad. However, Mr. Otis is the most intriguing character of the bunch and causes everything to flip upside down for Vlad. At first, I wondered what would become of his and Vlad's relationship and what he wanted with him, but by the last 50 or so pages, everything starts to unravel.

Characters: Vladimir - Vlad is a great main character. He's not perfect and not everything he does is completely perfect, which makes him more realistic rather than making him perfect because he's a vampire. I did lose a little sympathy for him when I found out that he was one of those male characters that is crushing over the popular girl. But, as I was reading, I could understand why he would like Meredith and even though he likes her, there's a possibility they might not end up together because of what he is and what he craves. Therefore, he should get the chance to crush over the popular girl. Other than that, I do love Vlad. He seems to start maturing by the end of the book, but still is a teenager. He's not done with the threat of the vampire world and family secrets just yet.

Cover: The cover is simple and eye-appealing. I do love the little vampiric smiley, I don't know if that ever comes up in the series or it's just the series' symbol. However, it's cute and I would definitely buy a shirt if that was on there. My only complaint is that I wish the cover oriented around what happens in the book, but looking at the whole series' covers, it's better with just seeing what Vladimir looks like in that certain grade.

Overall Rating: I'm giving this book a four out of four. This is my first four out of four in awhile. There weren't known mistakes I could see in this book. It was a great read and I look forward to seeing what the series has in store. Brewer did an amazing good with the characters' personalities and developing the shown potential in each of them. The plot was great for this book because it is kicking off the series. This definitely has many elements in it, so any versatile reader can enjoy it with little or no boredom.
Peace and Fangs,

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