Review: Paul Versus The Vampire

It’s ROMANCE time!

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Paul Versus The Vampire

by Shade of Roses

It happens like a fairy tale. Walking home in the snow, Paul is doused by a passing snow plough and Eric, who lives nearby, invites him in to dry off. Two such handsome, amicable young men can’t help but hit it off … and then they really hit it off.

Barely a second date has gone by when Eric invites Paul to his family home in Greece. Dazed by Eric’s family’s wealth, Paul commits to making the most of it, getting to know Eric’s odd sister, his open minded butler, and doing some intensive sight-seeing in the region of Eric’s crotch.

The catch? Eric is a vampire – and would Paul mind becoming his thrall? While Paul considers life as Eric’s juice box/ sex slave, his family pits themselves in war against the vampires. They only want to save Paul, but it may not be up to them, or even Paul, which he chooses: his love, or his humanity.

 

I found the names confusing. Eric and Paul are just so exotic! Here's a handy reminder while you're reading the review.

I found the names confusing. Eric and Paul are just so exotic! Here’s a handy reminder while you’re reading the review.

The Good:

Paul Versus the Vampire is a virtually shojo-ai retelling of Buffy and Angel. It’s fluffy, charming, funny and cute, and boy is there a lot of sex in it. But it’s the growing intimacy between Paul and Eric that carries the story through its twists and turns, its fluffy first act and devastating second act. Paul retains his character at all times, dedicated to Eric, but torn between pursuing the romance and siding with his family. I loved all of Paul’s relationships; the disarming, self-effacing way he interacts with his mother, brother and best friend. He’s a good man and I wanted to slap him until he made the right decision.

Eric too has his charms, although he isn’t as well fleshed out as Paul, or perhaps we just never get to know him as well. He provides a constant focal point for our attentions, the centre of the world Paul is orbiting as everything around them spirals into chaos.

That juxtaposition is what I love about this story. At its heart is this pure romance, fuelled by mutual attraction and great chemistry. Around that everything else is shifting gears, going from winter in Toronto to a Greek manor to Armageddon between these two families. It’s fast paced, emotively-driven, genuine, funny and punchy, a pure joy to read. If Shade of Roses set out with the sheer enjoyment factor as her top priority, then she can count this one a success.

It’s also really smart. The character motivations are inferred, not stated outright, but they’re still fully understandable. Paul’s family doesn’t want him becoming an inhuman slave? I can dig that. Shade of Roses also makes a strange but effective use of her vampires. Their hyper senses give them a super-human sensitivity to sounds, such as the ticking of an egg timer. How many vampire hunters do you know of who use egg timers to weaken their prey? It’s brilliant.

 

The Bad:

So that shifting gears. Halfway through, the story takes a dramatic twist of the sort most viscerally compared to a snag around the reader’s ankle that leaves them hanging from a tree. It then proceeds to tenderise you with a baseball bat while all hell breaks loose for Paul and bits of story whip past like proverbial bats from said hell.

For about a dozen pages, I thought Shade of Roses had lost it. Yet somehow she reins it in; somehow the beating isn’t all that bad; you find out the baseball bat is a pool noodle and rather than being upside-down, you are now standing upright on what was the cleverly-disguised floor all along.

This sudden change in tone is good, and Shade of Roses does largely make it work. However, given the soft atmosphere of the first act and the ingenious weaponisation of egg timers, I do wish that a non-violent solution had been found for the second part. The violence felt out of place, and it raised too many questions about who was going to prison when the story was over.

 

Despite this, Paul Versus the Vampire is an intelligent, enchanting, gorgeous tale of a young man and young vampire falling in love. It does justice to vampires while never missing a beat on the romance. While it won’t blow you away with its overall originality, it is a sheer delight to read. I’m giving it 3.5 out of 5.

ABOVE AVERAGE

Fun fact. I had no idea this was m-m romance before I picked it up. I had no idea it was romance, I was just in it for the vampires.

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About Anneque D. Machelle

Anneque "Dangerpus" Machelle (rhymes with ranger wuss) is a rebel and a rogue from way out west. Strictly banned from interactions with other human beings, she spends her days amongst molluscs, dogs and lizards, whom she counts as her closest friends.

Posted on February 17, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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