The Opposite of Life
by Narrelle M. Harris
So as you readers may be aware, the Twilight movie's coming out tomorrow night. I know some of you are very excited because you have been waiting for this for months, and the rest of you can't wait for Twilight to go away. No matter which camp you fall into, I have found a book for you. The Opposite of Life is the perfect antidote, no matter how this movie makes you feel.
Lissa Wilson, a librarian with gothic tastes, just wants to go out and have fun dancing at the local clubs in Melbourne. She's even met a wonderful new guy, Daniel, of the gorgeous face and emerald green eyes. However, every time she steps out, though, someone dies, and she always manages to find the body. No one knows who the killer is, but after her beautiful beau becomes the latest victim Lissa becomes determined to find the murderer and bring him to justice. To do so she teams up with vampire Gary, who seems to be the only one who knows anything about the situation, and throw herself into the world of Melbourne's vampires.
So why is this book so great? For one, Harris' vampires actually make sense. These vampires have superhuman strength and agility, yes, but that's as supernatural as they get. When they get 'turned' they do not morph into a Venus or Adonis; beauty isn't a magic vampire perk. If you were a pudgy, ugly human than unfortunately, you become a pudgy, ugly vampire. Harris' vampires are also realistic; over time, they lose their ability to think quickly and “keep up” with new trends and inventions. One of the best scenes, to me, was a scene in which Lissa watches Gary use his computer, and notices that he has instructions on how to turn it on and use his programs carefully written out on a paper he keeps by the computer, just like the senior citizens she teaches at the library. (For that matter, just like my grandfather.) So a sixty-year old vampire acts like a sixty-year old, even if his body is decades younger.
Her use of vampire mythology is also as grounded in reality as vampires can get. They can go out in daylight, but it weakens them. They claim that they can enter buildings without an invitation, but never do. (There's some interesting development of this idea toward the end of the novel.) Blood isn't food for them, but when they drink it something human wakes up inside them and they are able to feel emotions for a brief period. While not necessary for survival, it is like a drug to vampires because it allows them to experience outside their normal perceptions.
Also, Lissa is a fun narrator. She has an easy, chatty style that keeps the story moving and mixes humor into all situations. I love that she isn't a stereotypical vampire heroine, madly in love with a male vampire. In fact, she's royally pissed off at vampires because one of them killed the man she loved, yet she hasn't spun off the deep end to blind revenge. She's just trying to cope with loss and the mystery of death, and in the novel she shows a lot of emotional growth.
This is a quirky, fun vampire novel that isn't quite like any I've read before. The first in a trilogy, it currently only available in Australia, but the author was kind enough to send some links to places it can be purchased if you aren't fortunate enough to live in Oz.
Dymocks Online- in Australia, ship internationally
Really, though, check this book out. It's worth it.