Pearl is your average teenage vampire – that is, until a late night snack goes horribly wrong and she finds herself in the embarrassing position of having been staked by a unicorn. What’s more, it turns out that there are side effects. Being able to go outside during daylight is all very well, but suddenly it seems like Pearl is developing a conscience as well, right in time for the vampire king’s upcoming Fealty Ceremony.
I nabbed a review copy of Drink, Slay, Love from Simon & Schuster’s Galley Grab because the premise sounded ridiculously entertaining, especially as a counter to the hundreds of deadly serious paranormal romances that are flooding the teen market at the moment. I wasn’t disappointed. The key descriptor for this novel is “fun”. Sarah Beth Durst seems to have written it with her tongue firmly planted in her cheek.
That said, there is plenty to find here for even the most dedicated of paranormal aficionados. While Durst has fun with the usual clichés, it never feels like she’s mocking the Twilights of the world. What’s more, there’s still a potential love-interest to champion and plenty of vampires to get your teeth into. (Pun completely intentional. I do apologise.)
Pearl is a fantastic protagonist. Even once she’s been afflicted with a conscience, she’s still delightfully strong and arrogant and in-control. What’s more, she’s presented as being just as capable (if not more so) than her male counterparts.
The other female characters are also well-drawn. I wasn’t sure about Bethany at first, but her character is fleshed out more fully as the book goes on, and I appreciated the depths that weren’t, at first, apparent. I also enjoyed the school’s Mean Girls, who turn out to be far more layered than expected, and the fairly minor character of Sana, who is more interested in whether Pearl can beat her at track than whether she has fangs or not.
While Pearl’s boyfriend, Jadrien, grated a little on me, I enjoyed Evan as the boy who makes Pearl consider whether humans can be tasty in a whole other way. Those who love bad boys will undoubtedly prefer Jadrien, but I appreciated Evan’s respectful manner and his unfailing belief in Pearl.
While there is an overarching plot surrounding the Fealty Ceremony in Drink, Slay, Love, I think the sections I enjoyed the most were those that were less concerned with moving the action along and more focussed on describing Pearl’s experiences with attending a human high school for the first time.
All in all, Drink, Slay, Love is an extremely entertaining novel that’s sure to gain a big following – and deservedly so.
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)