The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, vol. 4
My rating: 4 of 5
Vlad thought life was tough when he was dealing with school bullies and keeping the fact that he’s a vampire from his girlfriend. His eleventh grade year promises to be a bit more complicated. His uncle Otis is facing trial for crimes against Elysian law–and likely facing death, which Otis is keeping a deep secret from his human love, Vlad’s guardian Nelly. Meanwhile, Vlad encounters an unusual vampire who seems to know more than he’s willing to tell–and who dearly wants to drink Vlad’s blood. Soooo not okay. Not to mention, Joss is back in town in full vampire-hunter mode, intent on revenge. Which is really heartbreaking, because there’s a part of Vlad that still thinks of Joss as a good friend. Add to that the morally ambiguous grounds of drinking from a human girl who wants him to (and keeping that a secret from everyone), and Vlad’s got a very challenging year to handle. But hey, he’s the prophesied Pravus; he can handle it, right?
I have consistently enjoyed the Vladimir Tod books, including Eleventh Grade Burns. I think I’ve said this before, but they’re a refreshing change from the majority of the vampire stories you see out today. They’re not so much nasty paranormal romances; more just solid, exciting teen paranormal fiction. The plot is interesting, surprising, suspenseful, and pertinent to stuff kids deal with today, even if it does deal with huge prophesies and life-or-death situations. There’s a lot of honest discussion of stuff like integrity, character, true friendship and family, and making tough choices that is truly beneficial. Plus, it’s just enjoyable to read–nice text flow and a pleasant blend of intense action and comforting slice-of-life situations. I really, truly love the characters here, too. In this particular volume, there’s a definite darkening of the storyline as Vlad’s situation becomes more and more troubling. But even in the dark, troubled times, there’s a sense of forward motion, of purpose. I would recommend Eleventh Grade Burns to anyone who likes YA paranormal–just do read the first three volumes first, or you’ll be pretty lost.