Friday 13 May 2011

Children's book review : The Vampire Hunters - Pete Johnson

Anne Frank, Adrian Mole and Bridget Jones all had diaries to reveal their deep dark secrets and most private thoughts to, but keeping a diary doesn't seem to be in the in-thing with today's kids. This is why Marcus and Tallulah, the two friends at the centre of the action in The Vampire Hunters, choose to set all their mid-teen crises down in a blog instead. Which is probably just as well because there's already a series of books called Vampire Diaries so it would get a bit confusing otherwise !

As Adrian Mole proved a couple of decades ago, being a teen is a difficult time, filled with existential questions, trying to get a girlfriend and hair sprouting in strange places. Well, as the strapline on the front cover says, "Growing up is hard enough - now try growing fangs" ! Marcus has to deal with learning he's a half-vampire as well as all the usual teen problems. Oh, and if that wasn't enough, he's got a super vampire trying to kill him, his parents are giving him a hard time because he can't fly and his best friend Talullah has gone vampire-hunting crazy !

The book is written entirely as a blog so it's a nice light read that will not be offputting to reluctant readers. Despite being a half-vampire, Marcus is a character that all teens and tweens will be able to relate to so it's a great and reassuring way of showing them that the problems they're inevitably going through are the same as everybody else's. I also love the modern-day morality aspect and the low-key advice to teens about not going off meeting people you've "met" online by yourself or without telling people where you're going because you can never be sure who you're really talking to.

It's a light-hearted, quick-paced read that is perfect for teens and tweens, but that I even enjoyed myself as a grown-up ! It's a great mixture of excitement, humour and slightly scary bits but nothing at all that will give younger readers nightmares. The only thing I didn't like was the lack of definite ending but I assume the action will kick off again in a sequel. In fact, I discovered when researching this review that this is the second book in the series, following on from Vampire Blog, but it can still be thoroughly enjoyed as a stand-alone novel. Now that I've finished it, I'll definitely be passing it on to 9-year-old bookworm Sophie to enjoy.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £4.99

Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Yearling (2 Jun 2011)
Language English
ISBN-10: 0440869390
ISBN-13: 978-0440869399

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