From the BLURB:
17 year-old Kalina didn t know her boyfriend was a vampire until the night he died of a freak accident. She didn t know he came from a long line of vampires until the night she was visited by his half-brothers Jaegar and Stuart Greystone. There were a lot of secrets her boyfriend didn t tell her. Now she must discover them in order to keep alive. But having two half-brothers vampires around had just gotten interesting.
Kalina is living in the fall-out from her boyfriend’s death. Aaron was in a car accident, drunk behind the wheel, and Kalina’s life changed forever. . . months on from her mourning, Kalina’s life is about to change again. Aaron’s half-brothers, Stuart and Jaegar, have come to town. Supposedly they are here to investigate Aaron’s death, but pretty soon Kalina discovers the real reason for their presence. They’re vampires. Aaron was a vampire, so are his brothers, and so are the men who want to kidnap Kalina and take her life’s blood. For Kalina’s blood is special – a drop of her blood, freely given, can grant a vampire humanity. . . but only if she loves them. If she doesn’t, that vampire will become evil.
‘Pulse’ is a paranormal YA series from Kailin Gow. There are currently three books out at the moment, with two more set for 2011 release.
The series follows quite closely the L.J. Smith ‘Vampire Diaries’ plot. Less, the book plot, and more the TV show’s storyline. It’s a familiar story; a girl torn between two vampire brothers, one ‘good’ and one ‘evil’. Stuart is the quintessential ‘good guy’, while Jaegar is the bad-boy lothario. . . but both of them are attracted and quickly in love with Kalina.
The story veers away from L.J. Smith similarity when, in the second book, a character called Octavius throws his hat in for Kalina’s affection. But for the most part the plot of the ‘Pulse’ series is quite well-known and nothing particularly new.
“What a situation you’re in,” said Octavius. “If you give your blood freely, chastely, with love – your love will become human. But if he is not your love – he will become your worst nightmare, the most evil, decadent creature you could imagine. With your blood. What a terrible decision to make. And which will you choose? The good one – or the dangerous one? I’d tell you which one I’d choose. . . although it doesn’t matter, in any case. I’d have to kill him.”
Even though the bones of the plot is familiar (especially if you watch ‘The Vampire Diaries’) the story is still an exciting page-turner. However. . . Gow’s execution is a little lacking.
The series feels rushed. Gow often crams into one book what most YA paranormal authors would stretch over an entire series. Gow cuts corners when it comes to scene-setting, characterization and ‘show, not tell’. At one point, Kalina gets whisked off to Europe (Rome, Paris etc, etc) and the whole trip is summarized in a chapter or two, as Gow takes no to time to write setting and atmosphere. Gow also takes the lazy way out when it comes to revealing character’s emotions – long inner monologues instead of letting their actions speak for themselves.
The books often feel so rushed, the characters and situations contrived, that it’s like heightened, exaggerated YA. . . dare I say, it’s very reminiscent of fan-fiction? It has that too-quick pace, flimsy characterization and over-the-top fan-fiction feel to it. The fanfiction feel is especially evident in the ‘romance’. Gow keeps piling on suitors for Kalina. . . Stuart, Jaegar, Octavius, and the list keeps growing with bad-guys who want the evil power Kalina’s blood possesses. Then there is Kalina’s Mary-Sue character. She is apparently so beautiful, but unaware of her effect on men. She is all that is pure and good and all the boys want her. . . yeesh!
The bones of the plot are good. Yes, some aspects have been done before (i.e.: a girl has to choose between an ‘evil’ and ‘good’ vampire brother) but overall the storyline is interesting and keeps you sucked in. However, the books are rushed and have a distinct fanfiction feel to them.