Another day, another vampire romance to review. This time it’s C.M. Brown’s He Came For Me, book one of The Protector series. Unlike Poison Apology, this book is not erotica and is instead more of a romantic adventure. However, I still need to put down a disclaimer. I am 100% certain that I am not the intended audience for this book, so please take my review with a very large grain of salt. Despite the fact that the vampire romance doesn’t appeal to me at all, I ended up enjoying He Came For Me as a fun twist on the genre that didn’t take itself too seriously.
He Came For Me takes place in Queensland, Australia and concerns an average college student named Jasmine, nicknamed Jazz by her friends, who becomes involved with a bunch of mysterious pale-skinned newcomers to her school. Naturally, they’re a band of hunky vampires led by Seb (short for Sebastian). It turns out that these vampires are really from an alternate blood-sucking dimension and they’ve come to protect Jazz because she has some extra-dimensional vampire in her bloodline that makes her really important for the whole vampire race. A bunch of other vampires, led by Seb’s cousin Brennan, also shows up to capture Jazz for her power, and she finds herself thrust into the center of this bloodsucking conflict.
On the surface, this story seems standard for paranormal fantasies, what with its average protagonist being thrust into a magical world as the chosen one, supernatural guardians and attackers, and vampire hunks. However, Brown’s got a good sense of humor about her vampires. These bloodsuckers hang around in their mansion watching Blade II and True Blood, and seem to enjoy emulating the fictional vamps they see on the big screen. When they go out to eat, the author likes to point out how they enjoy rare steaks and tomato soup. Also, they surf. That’s right, this book has some surfing vampires and I wish we spent more time watching them catching waves. Later on, Jazz goes through a portal to the vampire dimension and it’s like some weird Lisa Frank world of trippy rainbow colors, but filled with dangerous vampire politics. I definitely enjoyed the fact that He Came For Me was willing to go into those outrageous places.
Unfortunately, the writing could have used a bit more work before publishing. A lot of run-on sentences and improperly used commas popped up. Many actions happened too fast, without adequate description and depth. Another problem? The frequent use of exclamation marks in the texts and dialogue. While it may seem cool to toss exclamation marks everywhere, it ends up making all the characters, including ancient vampires, seem like overexcited children.
Another problem may just be inherent in the genre. Super hunky, compassionate, romantic vampires that combine great pecs with a heroic determination not to drink blood for fear of hurting the one they love are overdone and more than a little boring. Reading about Seb made me long for the conquering, determined Dracula or even the hideous, monstrous Noseferatu – vampires who wouldn’t be caught dead on the cover of Non-Threatening Boys Magazine. And why always vampires? He Came For Me takes place in Australia and I wish the author had used of that country’s amazing legends and folklore to create new creatures, instead of overused vampires. I kept on waiting for a bunyip, a Yowie (Australian bigfoot), or a dropbear (evil koalas) to show up, but these cool creatures appear to be casualties of vampire cultural imperialism.
Still, I enjoyed Brown’s book and if you’re a fan of vampire romances, I urge you to check it out.