Okay, so what I'm really saying is that I don't get vampire fiction, unless it's Swedish or funny, and it probably helps to be set in my home state. To be honest I doubt I would have even given WALKING SHADOWS another glance, only I was doing the formatting of the ebook, and phrases, passages and paragraphs kept catching my eye. (Sorry Lindy and Narrelle ... I suspect it took me a little longer to do that ebook than would normally be the case). So anyway, at the end of it, I just figured I had to sit down and read the thing properly.
Which meant I did laugh out loud. Frequently. WALKING SHADOWS is basically a story of the trials and tribulations of friendship. Only this time the friends are letting some slightly weirder personal traits go. I think it's fair to say that Lissa is letting some rather major elements of Gary's life roll. Mind you, I'm not all that up to date with what vampire's do or do not like, so it could very well be that it's a given that Gary's letting stuff roll at the same time.
There is a lot of action in this book, there's a bit of lust and longing, but really, what is at the core of the story is the unlikely friendship between two people. On that aspect you could quite easily ignore the reason for their difference (that whole human / vampire thing) and just as easily see a bit of beauty and the beast. That's what struck me the most about WALKING SHADOWS - at the core, ignoring much effortless climbing of buildings and a lot of other superhuman goings on, there's a story about strength in difference and ultimately acceptance.
Aside from whatever it is about all this vampire palaver that attracts readers, the thing that really delivers in WALKING SHADOWS is a quintessentially Australian voice and sense of humour. Laid back, understated, frequently laugh out loud, it's a book that cleverly balances some of the gory, weird stuff that goes on with vampires and their ongoing battles, with a very modern day, urban, Australian feel. Combine that voice and that very current day scenario, with the underlying message, and there's something very clever about WALKING SHADOWS. A modern-day Beauty and the Beast, a message tale wrapped up in a lot of good fun.
Not, I hasten to add, should my liking WALKING SHADOWS be taken as any indication that I'm changing my mind about vampires. The proviso is now unless they are Swedish or funny and come with a rather clever underlying message. However, something this good comes along again, and I completely reserve my right to change my mind.
(Disclaimer: I wrangle the website for WALKING SHADOWS publisher Clan Destine Press. The wonderful Lindy knows I'm reading this book, but has no idea what I'm thinking / saying about it. Yet.)