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Sunday, February 13, 2011

'Crossed' Void City #3 by J.F. LEWIS

From the BLURB:

COMMITTED. CONFLICTED. AND UTTERLY CHAOTIC.

In spite of his continuing hot-blooded affair with his soon-to-be sister-in-law Rachel, Eric’s plan is simple: Give his vampire girlfriend Tabitha the fancy wedding she’s always wanted, then head off to Paris for their honeymoon in the hopes of tracking down his sire, the Empress vampire Lisette. The City of Love proves anything but romantic when the True Immortal rulers of Europe try to block Eric from entering the Continent—and subject Tabitha to a series of challenges to prove her vampire worth. Back home in Void City, Eric’s volatile daughter Greta is getting lonely and bored—and that’s not good news for anyone. And when, like a bat out of hell, Lisette descends upon Void City to wipe Eric and his brood off the face of the earth—forever—this much is clear: the honeymoon is over.

Hey little sister what have you done

Eric is back and cruder than ever in J.F Lewis’s epically awesome ‘Void City’ series.

A lot happened in the second book ‘Revamped’. Eric and his Mouser, Talbot, defeated a demon and incurred the wrath of Hell. Eric finally got wise to the wily ways of tantric witch, Rachel and agreed to keep her as his thrall if she stayed in line. Eric also turned a bunch of Sweetheart Row prostitutes into thralls and now has a ready supply of servants/snacks at his remodelled Demon Heart (now a bowling alley). Eric also discovered who his maker is – a French aristocrat emperor vampire called Lisette.

Oh, and he proposed to his girlfriend/latest vampire child, Tabitha (despite having a sidelines affair with her sister, the very same witchy Rachel).

‘Crossed’ begins on the day of the wedding . . . and if you think Eric taking to the aisle is going to reform him, the first page is a rude awakening. Eric is about to say “I do” but before the nuptials he and Rachel have a little fun in the rectory. Still, despite the single most unromantic wedding speech (with Eric promising to cheat and eventually forget the bride’s name), the crazy vampires do get hitched and hitch a ride to Paris, France for the honeymoon.

Except that Eric’s maker, Lissette, pays a visit to Void City to meet with her creation. And Eric and Tabitha have to face off against Europe’s true immortals if they hope to stay in Paris.

Rachel has plans of her own to crash the honeymoon and the power behind Void City has a scheme brewing.

You can bet that the honeymooners won’t be having a grand old time in the city of love.

Hey little sister shot gun!

I loooooooove the ‘Void City’ series. I maintain that the books are not for everyone – yes, there are hot girls on the covers, but the characters within are morally bankrupt and the storyline is often a twisted fare. In other words, J.F. Lewis is writing vampires as Bram Stoker intended – gloriously mean. They snack on people, kill without consequence and to hell with all the rest.

And Eric may just be the most unrepentant of them all. Eric has rage blackouts when he turns into über-vamp – a blackened, winged monster who is the embodiment of Eric’s anger. Eric is also incapable of feeling, much – like with Tabitha, he knows he doesn’t love her but he doesn’t hate her all the time and that warrants a wedding. Still, Eric has flashes (however dim and brief) of decency. He has firm rules about not harming children, and in fact he saved his adopted ‘daughter’ Greta from a human monster years ago. Eric also maintains that the love of his life is Marilyn – the human woman who he was once engaged to but who also cheated on him and perished in the explosion at Demon Heart.

With Eric, it’s a game of checks and balances. Overwhelmingly, he’s corrupt and morally bankrupt. But if he was completely villainous and devoid of redemption, then he wouldn’t be interesting to read. The true brilliance in his character is wading through the snark and murk and crossing your fingers that Eric does something somewhat ‘nice’, for once;
He wanted a song that could vanquish demons and save the world. He wanted me to be a hero, a golden soul . . . like in El Segundo. I swear to God, you save the world one fucking time and some people never let you live it down.
But then, I guess everybody has their little eccentricities. Talbot’s is that he thinks I'm a hero. Whoever bought him DVD copies of Angel ought to be shot.
Rachel is another villainous all together. I would wage that she’s worse than Eric, partly because a death by leukaemia and a trip to hell changed her for the worse. Rachel is so teeth-grindingly awful; and it’s made doubly worse by the fact that Eric has a soft spot (blind spot!) for her. Still, she’s one of those ‘evil’ characters who is so outlandishly, gut-wrenchingly awful that they bypass annoying and head straight into fascinating reading.

The same can be said of Eric’s adopted vampire daughter, Greta. Part of ‘Crossed’ is told from Greta’s perspective and it’s so twistingly psychotic that she’s a (sick) delight to read. Greta had a traumatic childhood, and even though she’s been an adult vampire for years now, she’s still living in the fall-out of post-traumatic stress. Greta’s mindscape is at once childlike and chillingly primal. She’s hungry; so she (over)eats. She wants to know what a ribcage looks like; so she kills someone and feeds them to Fang (Eric’s vampire car).

I love J.F. Lewis’s characters. They can be cut and dry awful, but it’s his glimpses into the gray areas that keep you coming back for more (like a martyr) in the hopes that the redemption finally overtakes the cruelty.

It's a nice day to start again

I definitely get the feeling that ‘Crossed’ is all about ‘the long game’ for J.F. Lewis and his ‘Void City’ series. Many new players come out of the woodwork and show their sleight of hand. From Ebon Winter, the singing God and son to Phillip . . . to Phillip’s staked show-case, Percy. I had a feeling that these bit players would step to the forefront eventually, I was just ridiculously happy that Lewis trotted them out in this third book. Percy, especially, has me grossed-out and intrigued . . .

‘Crossed’ also marks the mention of Eric’s ‘destiny’. There are many references made to Eric’s place in the grand scheme of things – and many characters reveal how they have a hand in Eric’s trajectory. I cannot wait to see how this all plays out . . . Lewis has left many bread-crumbs throughout ‘Crossed’, and I can’t wait to see where they lead to.

It's a nice day for a white wedding

As J.F. Lewis is prone to do, ‘Crossed’ ends on a giant chasm of a cliff-hanger. I'm talking heart-in-your-throat-ass-on-the-edge-of-the-seat kind of cliff-hanger. It will greatly affect Eric and his ‘destiny’, and especially impact on Tabitha and the un-life she and Eric have embarked on.

I will say that I hope the next book in the series has more Eric/Tabitha interaction. We’ve never really read them together for extended periods of time (what with Eric banging her sister and all) . . . but these two at the end of ‘Crossed’ were hilarious (like a twisted Lucy and Ricky) and I'd love to see more wicked banter between them.

It's a nice day to start again

‘Crossed’ is yet another tantalizingly abhorrent instalment in the ‘Void City’ series. J.F. Lewis keeps getting better and better, and Eric keeps getting nastier and nastier. I love it! I especially love reading these books to catch snatches of Eric’s prospective soul and evidence of his (possible) redemption. ‘Crossed’ is definitely looking towards the ‘Void City’ long game and what is in store for Eric . . . yes, there’s a Grand-Canyon-sized cliff-hanger, but it’s all worth it for the grand new turn the series is taking. Plus, I can’t begrudge Lewis a cliff-hanger ending when he wrote one of the funniest and twisted references to make me cackle: Chitty Chitty Fang Bang. Touché, Lewis.

5/5

3 comments:

  1. ok, so I basicaly bought these three books because of your reviews LOL but Im scared of them hahahaha I will read them at some point, but I dont think Im in the right state of mind for them yet hehe

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  2. Danielle,

    This is one of my all time faves. :) Glad you liked this installment - I've got to get my hands on a copy soon.

    M

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  3. I read and enjoyed Staked, got Revamped in the TBR. Sounds like I need to hurry and read them so I can get to Crossed.

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